David W. Johnson
One of the hallmarks of the Japanese psychiatrist and philosopher Kimura Bin’s (b. 1931) philosophical approach is the conversion of ordinary words into philosophical concepts. Here we focus on the way he appropriates the Japanese words onozukara and mizukara, ordinary terms associated, respectively, with things that occur naturally, spontaneously, or by themselves, and those that come from oneself. This re-reading of these terms as philosophical concepts furnishes an interpretive frame that brings together and makes sense of large and important concepts in philosophy and psychology such as self and nature, perception and sensation, collective subjectivity and individual subject, schizophrenia and self-realization. His appropriation of these two Japanese terms also uncovers a general and impersonal form of subjectivity that underlies our experience of ourselves as individuated subjects and stands at the center of his philosophical and psychological investigations into these phenomena.
An Essay on the Powers of Thinking
Jason M. Wirth
Continental philosophy, beginning with Kant, has found itself exposed to the abyss of reason. This crisis makes it a more ready dialogue partner with some of the Zen tradition. I explore this opening by bringing Eihei Dōgen (1200–1253) into an encounter with Continental thought, broadly construed. Rather than demonstrate how Dōgen already fits within Continental thought or re-engineering the latter so that he can fit, I argue that this encounter, already precipitated by Continental philosophy’s own acknowledgement of the felix culpa of Western philosophy’s otherwise indefensible overreach, transforms and expands the manners in which thinking counts as philosophical. This is no less than to recover a sense of philosophy as genetic and creative, rather than a shopworn tool kit of universal insights.
Eric S. Nelson
Heidegger’s “Evening Conversation: In a Prisoner of War Camp in Russia, between a Younger and an Older Man” (1945), one of three dialogues composed by Heidegger after the defeat of National Socialist Germany published in Country Path Conversations (Feldweg-Gespräche) explores the being-historical situation and fate of the German people by turning to the early Daoist text of the Zhuangzi. My article traces how Heidegger interprets fundamental concepts from the Zhuangzi, mediated by way of Richard Wilhelm’s translation Das wahre Buch vom südlichen Blütenland (1912), such as naturalness, letting/releasement (Gelassenheit/wuwei), the unnecessary (wuyong zhi wei yong) and the useless (wuyong zhi yong) in the context of his hermeneutical and political situation. I consider to what extent this dialogue, along with his other discussions of the Zhuangzi and intensive engagement with the Daodejing from 1943 to 1950, constitute a “Daoist turn” in Heidegger’s thinking that helped shape his Postwar thought.
Re-imagining and Re-placing the Elemental
This essay considers the relation between two fundamentally different notions of place—the Greek concept of χώρα and the Japanese concept of basho 場所—in an effort to address the question of a possible “other beginning” to philosophy by rethinking the relation between nature and the elemental. Taking up a cross-cultural comparative approach, ancient through contemporary Eastern and Western sources are considered. Central to this endeavor is reflection on the concept of the between through an engagement between, on the one hand, Plato, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Edward Casey, and John Sallis, and on the other, Eihei Dōgen, Nishida Kitarō, and Watsuji Tetsurō.
Toward a Versatile Perspectivism with Nietzsche, Heidegger, Zhuangzi and Zen
Bret W. Davis
This essay is about “knowing limits,” both in the sense of acknowledging the inevitable perspectival limits of our knowledge, and in the sense in which the act of knowing delimits the parameters of that which is known. Moreover, it aims to cultivate a versatile perspectivism that is ethically oriented by a capacity for ecstatic empathy rather than an egocentric will to power. The essay begins with an examination of the mind/body problem as a paradigmatic case of perspectival ambiguity, making reference to a wide range of authors. The focus of the central sections of the essay is on Nietzsche and Heidegger, while the final sections are devoted to developing a phenomenological reading of Zhuangzi and Zen. At issue throughout is the articulation of a versatile perspectivism responsive to both the demarcative and disclosive senses of knowing limits.
Paul Ricoeur’s Theory of the Interanimation of Discourses for Phenomenology of Religion
This study considers Paul Ricoeur’s theory of discourses within the context of a phenomenology of religion. I focus on the eighth study of La métaphore vive, wherein Ricoeur explores the possibility of interanimation between speculative and poetic discourses. While Ricoeur is willing to consider the interactions between religious and philosophical discourse in a number of essays, he does not develop the further possibility of the interanimation between religious and speculative thought. I take up this unexplored possibility by suggesting that metaphors are capable of slipping between discourses and animating speculative and religious discourses. Specifically, I use Jean-Louis Chrétien’s metaphor of “wounding” as a case study wherein the phenomenal form of paradox defines one meaning of wounding, while another meaning is connected to a poetic expression that refers to our belonging in the world. Together, the two meanings of the metaphor enliven Chrétien’s phenomenology of religion.