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The Aggrieved Community

Nancy and Blanchot in Dialogue

Kevin Hart

Abstract

Does “community” contain an ineradicable memory of “communion,” and thereby inevitably have conceptual ties to Christianity, if not to fascism? Or can the word, rather, indicate a new way of being in common, one that became briefly visible in the communist experiment, understood first as the appearing of the truth of democracy before it collapsed under the weight of ideology and militarism? While Jean-Luc Nancy identifies motifs from Maurice Blanchot’s early right-wing political commitments in his later left-wing thought, this essay addresses and critiques another of Nancy’s claims: that despite Blanchot’s affirmation of a community unregulated by a reference to unity, he is, in fact, committed to the Christian notion of communion. However, Blanchot distanced his notion of inter-subjectivity from any conception of God, proposing, instead, a “dissymmetric” rather than asymmetric relation, grounded in the encounter of the Other’s death rather than in some trace of the divine.

Alejandro A. Vallega

David W. Johnson

Abstract

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.

Miki Kiyoshi 1897-1945

Japan's Itinerant Philosopher

Series:

Susan Townsend

This book takes us on a fascinating journey through the world of thought of Miki Kiyoshi, one of Japan’s pre-eminent philosophers before the Pacific War, and thus makes us discover the man behind the philosopher. His collaboration with government think-tanks in the late 1930s has made him highly controversial in historiographical debates. His death in prison, six weeks after Japan's defeat, hastened the lifting of pre-war restrictions on civil rights in Japan. He was a prolific, diverse and original thinker, revered by the Japanese as a plain-speaking, deeply humanistic philosopher who connected with the real lives of the people. As a translator, editor and journalist he intoduced many works of western European literature and philosophy into Japan.