The Kyoto School (book review) Robert E. Carter

090118: clear, concise, introduction to the work of philosophers known as 'Kyoto school', all Japanese thinkers who learned much 'western' philosophy in order to integrate, express, engage, with particular Japanese thought on 'the way', mostly zen, in which the purpose of thought is directed to individual transformation, enlightenment, in this world, in a way close to, influenced/ing religious practices...


central contention is that in western thought the central, motivating, value, is 'being' in all its forms (apparent, absolute, relative) and in eastern thought it is 'nothingness' in all its forms (relative, nihilist, absolute), and how zen and Buddhist thought quotes, works with, the evaluation of reality as 'empty' or 'emptiness' (interdependence of nature rather than essence) famous quote of 'form is emptiness and emptiness is form'... and this 'foundation' (abyss) is source of all that ‘is’...


Nishida, Tanabe, Nishitani, are the three main members of the ‘school’, with Wasuji added, influenced by Buddhist thought, either following it, translating, expanding and making philosophical interpretation of essential insights, in nsd or rejecting in tana, critiquing in nst moving from self-power to other-power, asserting absolute emptiness is awareness of human mind, skepticism that this is possible without power of 'faith', from mind and existential concepts to social/space in response to heidegger's focus on time, while this is introducing thoughts it is indicated there are many volumes yet to be translated to English...


i come to this intro with a lot of reading of phenomenonology and see a lot of merleau-ponty in the idea that it is not the varying intellect that need be engaged, empowered, enlightened, but the body, by some practices, intuition, acts- this notes also that if a philosophy does not lead to new and lasting existential change it is no more than 'intellectual gymnastics'... i come to this also having read on Buddhism and Zen, so it is very easy to follow these thoughts as philosophy rather than limited to 'western' concepts of religion, the only problem will be finding more translations of authors here noted, and as always any book that inspires reading another book is a five to me...

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if you like this review, i now have website: www.michaelkamakana.com 220611: this is probably the most academically accurate of the translations I have read of this book, but still prefer commentary o