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Summary

When we attribute human actions and abilities to either the body or the mind, memory seems to fall neatly within the range of the mind. Still, the act of memorizing of en has more to do with the body than with the mind, a fact strongly emphasized by, and reflected upon, in East Asian methodologies of cultivation. Furthermore, memories are more of en than not evoked by sensual, corporeal experiences. And finally, the case of a brain-dead patient shows how the body serves as a subject and object of memories in the absence of all intellectual activities.

An explanation of such phenomena is possible when viewing the mind-body problem in the light of E. Cassirer’s theory of expression. As an expression, the body is the external reality that signifies a (non-spatial) ‘internal’ state. If we analyze the correlation of body and mind accordingly, we may understand that, and how, the body functions as a primary medium of memory.

In: Time and Memory

Abstract

The issue of brain death touches directly on questions pertaining to our understanding of what it means to be human. Technological progress made possible the sustaining of signs of life in individuals who seem dead to the world. The concept of brain death was introduced to describe this phenomenon, and to answer some of the normative questions that were raised by it. In my article, I approach the problem of brain death with a focus on its temporal aspects. First I sketch out some general features of human life and death in terms of the theories of time of J. T. Fraser and G. Dux. Then I describe and analyze various definitions of brain death and criteria for its testing.The two most important variants are 'whole brain death' as the death of the organism, and 'cerebral death' as the death of the person. I discuss arguments in favor of, and against these concepts and analyze the framework and structuring of temporalities involved in each of them. I conclude that the extant theories in favor of 'brain death' are unsatisfactory, for factual and conceptual reasons. Most importantly, they neglect essential factors of personal identity. Because they employ a naturalistic concept of the human body, they fail to grasp its expressive quality and its function as a medium of communication. Furthermore, they fail to grasp the social dimension of personal identity. Because the concepts of 'brain death' as a criterion for the determination of death fail, we should regard brain-dead people as living human beings, and decide about their treatment accordingly.

In: KronoScope
In: Time: Limits and Constraints
In: Gibt es eine universale Bioethik?
In: Time: Limits and Constraints

Abstract

Awareness of impermanence is an attitude that permeates much of traditional Japanese culture. It is often seen to be grounded in Buddhist doctrine, which emphasizes the transiency of everything that exists. However, there are statements by the medieval Zen Master Dôgen (1200-1253) – a professedly orthodox Buddhist and arguably one of the most important religious minds from this country – that contradict this feeling. Arguing against over-emphasis on time's passage, Dôgen asserted the stationary aspects of time. Some of his modern readers took such statements as expressions of mystical insight into a world of timeless truth. A close reading of the sources suggests instead that Dôgen wanted to argue against eternalist as well as nihilist views. He developed a complex view of time, which accounts for its stable sequential order. This theory served to substantiate his claim that the Buddhist ideal could only be realized by continued religious practice.

Open Access
In: KronoScope
Authorship in East Asian Literatures from the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century
Did East Asian literatures, ranging from bronze inscriptions to zazen treatises, lack a concept of authorship before their integration into classical modernity? The answer depends on how one defines the term author. Starting out with a critical review of recent theories of authorship, this edited volume distinguishes various author functions, which can be distributed among several individuals and need not be integrated into a single source of textual meaning. Chinese, Japanese, and Korean literary traditions cover the whole spectrum from 'weak' composite to 'strong' individual forms and concepts of authorship. Divisions on this scale can be equated with gradual differences in the range of self-articulation. Contributors are Roland Altenburger, Alexander Beecroft, Marion Eggert, Simone Müller, Christian Schwermann, and Raji Steineck.
In: That Wonderful Composite Called Author
In: That Wonderful Composite Called Author
In: That Wonderful Composite Called Author