•  8
    Departing from and Returning to Nothingness
    Journal of World Philosophies 3 (2): 123-126. 2018.
    This review highlights The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Philosophy’s focus on “departures from nothingness.” These departures are seen in four themes: the definition of tetsugaku, interpersonal relationships, culture, and the socio-political sphere. In the first theme, I examine the dialogical character of nothingness and how it might relate with being. In the second, I show how this engagement with being connects to how we relate with the Thou, and examine its particula…Read more
  •  17
    This article is a comparative study of bell hooks’s “engaged pedagogy” with Watsuji Tetsurô’s systematic ethics. The purpose of this comparison is twofold. The first reason is to examine the relational view of ethics that underlies hooks’s thought in order to explore her deliberately “un-academic” work in a philosophically rigorous way. The second reason is to examine the fundamental connections of Watsuji’s ethics of human existenceto an education for human becoming. This comparison will be car…Read more
  •  8
    Religion and Ethics at Odds: A Buddhist Counter-Position
    with Sueki Fumihiko
    Chisokudo Publications. 2016.
    In this book, Sueki discusses the difficult relationship between religion and ethics. He understands ethics as something fundamentally tied to inter-human relationships, which presumes mutual intelligibility. How then do we relate to the "other"—that which cannot be reduced to our comprehension? How do we relate to other cultures, other genders, or even ourselves as unintelligible others? How do we relate with the kami, buddhas, and the dead? Sueki refers to this as the problem of "trans-ethic…Read more
  •  11
    Watsuji’s Balancing Act
    Journal of Japanese Philosophy 2 (1): 105-134. 2014.
    Watsuji Tetsuro-’s ethics is founded on the idea of the dual structure of human beings: that we are both individual and communal at the same time, and that these two elements constantly negate each other. But the interpretation of this structure shifts over the prewar, wartime, and postwar volumes. In the first volume, double negation is ambigu­ously explained as either an endless cycle that balances individuality and totality or a three-stage dialectic that privileges totality. Also, total­ity …Read more
  •  29
    Education and Empty Relationality: Thoughts on Education and the Kyoto School of Philosophy
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (4): 639-654. 2016.
    This article builds on the growing literature on the Kyoto School of Philosophy and its influences on the field of Education. First, I argue that the influence of the Kyoto School of Philosophy is historically significant in Japan, and that the connection between this philosophical school and the philosophy of education is by no means superficial. Second, I suggest that this school contributes a unique view of ‘negative education’ founded in the philosophical idea of ‘nothingness’. I examine how…Read more
  •  498
    This paper is an analysis of one theoretical facet of the problem of Buddhist participation in closed nationalist discourses: the essential relationship between the dislocation of subjectivity (or the emptying of ego) and the formation of communities (such as a nation-state or a Volk). Through this, I hope to explore the effects disciplines of subjectivity (including Buddhism) might have on socio-political formations (such as closed nationalism or imperialism). In order to do so, I will compare …Read more
  •  44
    The Buddhist Roots of Watsuji Tetsurô's Ethics of Emptiness
    Journal of Religious Ethics 44 (4): 606-635. 2016.
    Watsuji Tetsurô is famous for having constructed a systematic socio-political ethics on the basis of the idea of emptiness. This essay examines his 1938 essay “The Concept of ‘Dharma’ and the Dialectics of Emptiness in Buddhist Philosophy” and the posthumously published The History of Buddhist Ethical Thought, in order to clarify the Buddhist roots of his ethics. It aims to answer two main questions which are fundamentally linked: “Which way does Watsuji's legacy turn: toward totalitarianism or …Read more
  •  415
    This paper hopes to contribute to the contemporary East-West and Buddhist-Christian dialogues through a comparative examination of how ethics is founded upon the notion of emptiness and its analogues in the thought of two Japanese thinkers, Nishitani Keiji (1900-1990) of the Kyoto School of Philosophy, Watsuji Tetsuro (1889-1960), and the Russian Christian existentialist Ni-kolai Berdyaev (1874-1948). By comparing and contrasting Nishitani's notion of double-negation (from the standpoint of bein…Read more
  •  43
    Watsuji Tetsurô’s Ethics is one of the most important works in Japanese ethical thought. But scholarly research in English has largely focused on the first of three volumes of Ethics, leaving the latter two oft-neglected. In order to balance out the views of Watsuji’s ethics, this paper focuses on the contributions of the second and third volumes of Ethics. These volumes are essential for any concrete understanding of Watsuji’s ‘ethics of emptiness’. The second volume develops the ideas of the f…Read more
  •  640
    This essay examines how the standpoint of the gaijin (foreigner) shapes and challenges the act of philosophizing, through the experience of overwhelming cultural difference. I examine three challenges the foreigner faces—the need to understand a foreign culture, the need to contribute to a foreign culture, and the need for caution and self-awareness vis-à-vis the excesses and dangers of this attempt. First, through a reading of Thomas Kasulis’ Intimacy or Integrity: Philosophy and Cultural Diffe…Read more