This is a book about space. On a first level, it reflects traditional Japanese ideas of space against various “items” of Western culture. Among these items are Bakhtin's “dialogicity”, Wittgenstein’s Lebensform, and “virtual space” or “globalized” space as representatives of the latest development of an “alienated”, modern spatial experience. Some of the Western concepts of space appear as negative counter examples to “basho-like”, Japanese places; others turn out to be compatible with the Japanese idea of space.
On a second level, the book attempts to synthesize, by constantly transgressing the limits of a purely comparative activity, a quantity which the author believes to be existent in Japanese culture that is called “the virtual”. Be it Kuki Shûzô's hermeneutics of non-foundation or his ontology of dream, Nishida Kitarô’s virtual definition of the body of state, or Kimura Bin's notion of “in-between” (aida) that is so closely associated with the “virtual space” of Noh plays: what all these conceptions have in common is that they aim to transcend a flat notion of “reality” by developing “the virtual” as a complex ontological unity.
Space and the Virtual: An East-West Comparison
1. The Gamelike and Dreamlike Structures of Nishida Kitarô’s Pure Experience
2. Iki, Style, Trace: Kuki Shûzô and the Spirit of Hermeneutics
3. Contingency and the ‘Time of the Dream’: Kuki Shûzô and French Prewar Philosophy
4. The ‘I’ and the ‘Thou’: A Dialogue between Nishida Kitarô and Mikhail Bakhtin
5. Ma, Basho, Aida: Three Japanese Concepts of Space at the Age of Globalization
6. Nishida Kitarô and the Politics of the Virtual Body
7. Nishida and Wittgenstein: From Pure Experience to Lebensform
Postface: Predicative Logic and Virtual Stylistics