|Born||May 19 or June 17, 1870
Mori village near Kanazawa (present-day Kahoku, Ishikawa), Japan
|Died||June 7, 1945
Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
|Main interests||Zen Buddhism, Moral philosophy|
|Notable ideas||Logic of Basho (non-dualistic concrete logic), Absolute Nothingness|
Kitaro Nishida (西田 幾多郎 Nishida Kitarō?, May 19 or June 17, 1870 – June 7, 1945) was a prominent Japanese philosopher, founder of what has been called the Kyoto School of philosophy. He graduated from The University of Tokyo during the Meiji period in 1894 with a degree in philosophy. He was named professor of the Fourth High School in Ishikawa Prefecture in 1899 and later became professor of philosophy at Kyoto University. Nishida retired in 1927. Later in his retirement, in 1940, he was awarded the Order of Culture (文化勲章, bunka kunshō). He participated in establishing the (千葉工業大学, Chiba Institute of Technology) from 1940. Nishida Kitaro died at the age of seventy-five of a renal infection. His grave is located at Reiun'in (霊雲院, Reiun'in), a temple in the Myōshin-ji compound in Kyoto.
Being born in the third year of the Meiji period, Nishida was presented with a new, unique opportunity to contemplate Eastern philosophical issues in the fresh light that Western philosophy shone on them. Nishida's original and creative philosophy, incorporating ideas of Zen and Western philosophy, was aimed at bringing the East and West closer. Throughout his lifetime, Nishida published a number of books and essays including An Inquiry into the Good and "The Logic of the Place of Nothingness and the Religious Worldview." Taken as a whole, Nishida’s life work was the foundation for the Kyoto School of Philosophy and the inspiration for the original thinking of his disciples.
The most famous concept in Nishida's philosophy is the logic of basho (Japanese: 場所; usually translated as "place" or "topos"), a non-dualistic concrete logic, meant to overcome the inadequacy of the subject-object distinction essential to the subject logic of Aristotle and the predicate logic of Immanuel Kant, through the affirmation of what he calls the "absolutely contradictory self-identity", a dynamic tension of opposites that, unlike the dialectical logic of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, does not resolve in a synthesis. Rather, it defines its proper subject by maintaining the tension between affirmation and negation as opposite poles or perspectives.
According to Masao Abe, "During World War II right wing thinkers attacked him as antinationalistic for his appreciation of Western philosophy and logic. But after the war left wing thinkers criticized his philosophy as nationalistic because of his emphasis on the traditional notion of nothingness. He recognized a kind of universality in Western philosophy and logic but did not accept that it was the only universality."
List of Works
- (1911) An Inquiry into the Good (善の研究, Zen no kenkyū)
- (1915) Thinking and Experience (思索と体験, Shisaku to taiken)
- (1913–17) Intuition and Reflection in Self-consciousness (自覚に於ける直観と反省, Jikaku-ni okeru chokkan to taiken)
- (1918–9) The Problem of Consciousness (意識の問題, Ishiki no Mondai)
- (1920–23) Art and Morality (芸術と道徳, Geijutsu to dōtoku)
- (1923–27) From the Acting to the Seeing (働くものから見るものへ, Hatarakumono-kara mirumono-e)
- (1928–29) The System of Universals in Self-Awareness (一般者の自覚的体系, Ippansha-no jikakuteki taikei)
- (1930–32) The Self-conscious Determination of the Nothingness (無の自覚的限定, Mu-no jikakuteki gentei)
References and further reading
- An Inquiry into the Good, trans. Masao Abe and Christopher Ives. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.
- "An Explanation of Beauty," trans. Steve Odin. Monumenta Nipponica vol. 42 no. 2 (1987): 211–217.
- Intuition and Reflection in Self-Consciousness, trans. Valdo H. Viglielmo, Takeuchi Yoshinori and Joseph S. O'Leary. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987.
- Last Writings: Nothingness and the Religious Worldview, trans. David Dilworth. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993.
- "Logic of the Place of Nothinginess and the Religious Worldview"
- "Concerning My Logic"
- Place and Dialectic: Two Essays by Nishida Kitaro, trans. John W. M. Krummel and Shigenori Nagatomo. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
- Ontology of Production: Three Essays, trans. William Haver. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012.
- The Unsolved Issue of Consciousness, trans. John W. M. Krummell, in Philosophy East and West 62, no 1 (2012):44–59.
- Carter, Robert E. The Nothingness beyond God: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Nishida Kitaro Paragon House, 1989. ISBN 1-55778-761-1)
- Christopher Ives. Imperial-Way Zen: Ishikawa Hakugen's Critique and Lingering Questions for Buddhist Ethics. University of Hawaii Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8248-3331-2
- Heisig, James W. Philosophers of Nothingness University of Hawaii Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8248-2481-4
- Nishitani Keiji. Nishida Kitaro University of California Press, 1991. ISBN 0-520-07364-9
- Wargo, Robert J. J. The Logic Of Nothingness: A Study Of Nishida Kitaro. University of Hawaii Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8248-2969-7
- Yusa Michiko. Zen & Philosophy: An Intellectual Biography of Nishida Kitaro. University of Hawaii Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8248-2459-8
- Botz-Bornstein, Thorsten. "Nishida and Wittgenstein: from pure experience to Lebensform or new perspectives for a philosophy of intercultural communication," Asian Philosophy 13,1 (2003): 53–70.
- Botz-Bornstein, Thorsten. "The I and the Thou: A Dialogue between Nishida Kitarō and Mikhail Bakhtin,” Japan Review 16 (2004): 259–284.
- Heisig, James W. and R. Raud, eds. "Nishida’s Deodorized Basho and the Scent of Zeami’s Flower." Classical Japanese Philosophy (Nagoya: Nanzan Institute for Religion & Culture, 2010): 247–73.
- Heisig, James W. “Nishida’s Medieval Bent,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 31/1 (2004): 55–72.
- ———. “Non-I and Thou: Nishida, Buber, and the Moral Consequences of Self-Actualization,” Philosophy *East and West 50: 2 (2000): 179–207.
- ———. “Philosophy as Spirituality: The Way of the Kyoto School,” Takeuchi Yoshinori et al., ed., Buddhist Spirituality. Volume 2: Later China, Korea, Japan, and the Modern World, (New York: Crossroad, 1999), 367–88.
- ———. “Nothing and Nowhere East and West: Nishida Kitarō and Hints of a Common Ground.” Angelaki 17/3 (2012): 17 –30. Angelaki 17/3 (2012): 17–30.
- Rigsby, Curtis A. "Nishida on God, Barth and Christianity," Asian Philosophy 19, no. 2 (2009): 119-157.
- Nishida Kitaro at the Encyclopedia Britannica
- Nishida Kitaro at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Derrida and the Decentered Universe This article mentions Nishida's views in comparison with Derrida's.
- Works of Nishida Kitarō at the Bibliographia: An Online Journal for the History of Philosophy.
|Department of Philosophy (Chair), Kyoto University