The epistemology of disagreement examines the question of how an agent ought to respond to awareness of epistemic peer disagreement about one of her beliefs. The literature on this topic, ironically enough, represents widespread disagreement about how we should respond to disagreement. I argue for the sceptical conclusion that the existence of widespread disagreement throughout the history of philosophy, and right up until the present day indicates that philosophers are highly unreliable at arriving at the truth. If truth convergence indicates progress in a field, then there is little progress in philosophy. This sceptical conclusion, however, need not make us give up philosophizing: That we should currently be sceptical of our philosophical beliefs is a contingent fact. We are an intellectually immature species and given the existence of the deep future we have some reason to think that there will be truth-convergence in philosophy in the future.
What constitutes a solution to the problem of skepticism? It has been traditionally held that one must produce an argument that would rationally persuade skeptical philosophers that they are mistaken. But there is a trend in recent epistemology toward the idea that we can solve the problem without giving skeptics any good reason to change their minds. This is what I call unambitious epistemology. This paper is a critique of that project.
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.