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  • Author or Editor: Raji C. Steineck x
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Abstract

Nishida Kitarō (1870–1945) is considered by many as the most important 20th century Japanese philosopher for his ability to employ modern concepts and terminologies, and use them to construct a unique system carrying a distinctly East Asian flavour. In this system, the notion of nothingness plays a fundamental part both in terms of epistemology and ontology. While this conceptual choice was also inspired by Buddhist sources, Nishida also drew on the theoretical philosophy of Hermann Cohen to elaborate, how nothingness could function as both the guarantor of unity and generator of plurality. Close analysis, however, shows that Nishida’s appropriation of Cohen’s concept of the me on as a necessary feature in the „logic of pure knowledge“ sheds the constraints carefully put in place by Cohen. As becomes evident in a comparison between both thinker’s analysis of sensation, Nishida’s unrestricted use of Cohen’s terms collapses precisely those distinctions that give sensation its meaning in the rational assessment of reality. This leaves Nishida’s concept of reality without the critical potential to distinguish between different kinds of normativity and their inter-subjective validity. Nothingness, as Nishida uses the term, is not a logical concept, but functions as an aesthetic symbol invoking sublime ideas of a perfect reality that is one and whole, and at the same time rich and diverse.

In: Das Nichts und das Sein

Various attempts have been made to systematize fundamental patterns of temporal organization and to establish links between these patterns and natural and cultural evolution. This paper compares three pertinent theories of time in the light of evidence from Japanese cultural history: the hierarchical theory of time by J. T. Fraser, the fourfold paradigm of time imageries by Y. Maki, and the social learning theory of time by G. Dux. It demonstrates that the “canonical forms of time” established by these authors can be brought into meaningful conversation with each other and that they suggest helpful methodologies for the analysis of temporal perspectives in Japanese history. At the same time, comparative analysis reveals reasons for caution against simplified evolutionary accounts of cultural history. From very early on, Japanese literary sources evince an acute consciousness of conflicting temporalities. At the same time, there is no unified “Japanese concept of time”—neither trans-historically nor at any given period.

In: KronoScope

Abstract

Conflict is both a creative force in the establishment and a necessary condition for the sustenance of all higher modes of being. This, in short, I find to be one of the most ground-breaking insights of J. T. Fraser’s theory of “Time as a Hierarchy of Creative Conflicts.” As a consequence of this insight, I argue that to understand, with Fraser, the constitutive and creative function of some kinds of conflict will help us to accept, and even embrace, conflict not merely as a perpetual fact, as suggested by Stuart Hampshire, but as a necessary condition that makes possible whatever is of specific value in human culture. I go on to propose to distinguish between accidental and constitutive conflicts, and show how assessing conflicts accordingly can help to better manage them and avoid some destructive paths of action. The paper closes with some reflections on the limitations of the insight and its application.

In: KronoScope
In: Time and Trace: Multidisciplinary Investigations of Temporality
In: That Wonderful Composite Called Author
In: Concepts of Philosophy in Asia and the Islamic world
In: Time's Urgency

Nishida Kitarō (1870–1945) is considered by many as the most important 20th century Japanese philosopher for his ability to employ modern concepts and terminologies, and use them to construct a unique system carrying a distinctly East Asian flavour. In this system, the notion of nothingness plays a fundamental part both in terms of epistemology and ontology. While this conceptual choice was also inspired by Buddhist sources, Nishida also drew on the theoretical philosophy of Hermann Cohen to elaborate, how nothingness could function as both the guarantor of unity and generator of plurality. Close analysis, however, shows that Nishida’s appropriation of Cohen’s concept of the me onas a necessary feature in the „logic of pure knowledge“ sheds the constraints carefully put in place by Cohen. As becomes evident in a comparison between both thinker’s analysis of sensation, Nishida’s unrestricted use of Cohen’s terms collapses precisely those distinctions that give sensation its meaning in the rational assessment of reality. This leaves Nishida’s concept of reality without the critical potential to distinguish between different kindsof normativity and their inter- subjective validity. Nothingness, as Nishida uses the term, is not a logical concept, but functions as an aesthetic symbol invoking sublime ideas of a perfect reality that is one and whole, and at the same time rich and diverse.

In: Fichte Studien
In: KronoScope