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By Robert Wilkinson

Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945) is crucial jap thinker of the final century. His consistent goal in philosophy was once to attempt to articulate Zen in phrases drawn from Western philosophical resources, but in any case he chanced on that he couldn't accomplish that, and his notion illustrates a conceptual incommensurability on the inner most point among the most line of the Western culture and one of many major traces in jap thought.This ebook is a piece of comparative philosophy. cognizance is given to the implications of Nishida's metaphysics within the components of ethics, aesthetics, the philosophy of faith and significantly the results of Nishida's instance for the query of pluralism. This learn of Nishida brings into sharp concentration the query of even if, confronted with a conceptual incommensurability at as deep a degree as that manifested via Zen, the alternative among it and its Western substitute will be utterly rational.

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A further and closely related aspect of these doctrines is in the thesis that there is at least one mode of awareness which is not cognitive, namely satori. Satori is a non-conceptual grasping or realization of mu, held to be entirely authoritative and psychologically unquestionable: it is the centre that holds. It is also held to be totally complete and wholly adequate. A s has been mentioned, however, satori cannot be said to be a state of mind of an individual, not a gasping of an object by a subject, and this leads us to a consideration of the central Zen doctrine of the nature of the true self or, as it is strikingly put, your original face before you were born.

T hough Nishida never says so explicitly, he treats the assertion that unity is a necessary condition for consciousness as an a priori truth. Whether he can mean the same thing by ‘unity’ in all the applications of this premise is a point to reflect on. S ometimes he seems to designate by it the K antian transcendental unity of apperception; but this cannot be what is meant in the phrase ‘strict unity’, where ex hypothesi the experience embodies no self/not-self distinction. T his is a point which will arise again, since the notion of unity carries great weight throughout the argument of his book, including its theology.

James 1890, Vol. I, p. 609. 29 IG, p. 6. , pp. 4–5. In a note, Nishida refers to James’s essay A World of Pure Experience (which became the second chapter in Essays in Radical Empiricism) as the source of this idea. 31 IG, p. 151. 28 Nishida and Western Philosophy 40 R egardless of its nature, as long as consciousness maintains a strict unity it is pure experience: it is simply a fact. 32 When a present experience evokes a past experience, purity crumbles away, and disunity replaces strict unity.

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