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The Kyoto School

An Introduction

Robert E. Carter

Publication Year: 2013

An accessible discussion of the thought of key figures of the Kyoto School of Japanese philosophy.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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Thomas P. Kasulis

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pp. ix-xviii

...In this book Robert E. Carter performs a great service to the study of modern Japanese philosophy in the West. To appreciate the significance of his contribution, it is useful to begin by reviewing briefly the introduction of modern Japanese philosophy...

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A Note to the Reader

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pp. xix-xx

...The many endnotes in this book can be bypassed without significant loss of meaning. They are there for those who wish to check a source in more detail, or who require references for research purposes. Those who simply read the...

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pp. xxi-xxii

...My friend and colleague, Pal Dosaj, was to write portions of the manuscript, but Pal unexpectedly became seriously ill just as the writing began. As healing gradually took place, he offered suggestions and advice on numerous issues...

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pp. 1-12

...For nearly two and a half centuries (1633–1853), Japan was shut off from the rest of the world. Sakoku (“locked or chained country”) was the foreign relations policy of Japan that allowed no foreigner to enter Japan, nor any Japanese...

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1. Nishida Kitaro (1870–1945)

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pp. 13-60

...At about the same time that Japanese men were sent to the West to study the centuries of advances made since the closing of Japan, a small but steady flow of Western academics came to Japan to teach Western ideas and accomplishments. Two German philosophers...

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2. Tanabe Hajime (1885–1962)

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pp. 61-90

...Whereas Zen Buddhism serves a relatively small population of practitioners and is often viewed as difficult and inaccessible, Pure Land Buddhism has by far the largest following of any religion in Japan (consisting of more than half of the Japanese population) and is accessible and instantly effective. Pure Land is...

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3. Nishitani Keiji (1900–1990)

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pp. 91-124

...When reading Nishitani, one encounters an existentialist who knew full well that he lived within the “existentialist predicament” and who struggled mightily to find his way through it. According to this perspective, the human predicament is one in which we have been thrown into a world without meaning...

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4. Watsuji Tetsuro (1889–1960)

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pp. 125-152

...Watsuji serves as a vital contrast to the other Kyoto School thinkers, for whereas Nishida’s focus was on metaphysics and epistemology and logic, and both Tanabe and Nishitani took religion as their focus, Watsuji emphasized ethics and culture. And like Japan...

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5. Conclusion

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pp. 153-172

...A difficulty with any introductory text is that it must leave out a great deal if it is to truly serve as an introduction. To take the reader through the four stages of Nishida’s philosophy would deserve a book by itself, if not several books, and the complexity required would likely cause a reader to...


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pp. 173-182


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pp. 183-200

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 201-208


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pp. 209-237

E-ISBN-13: 9781438445434
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438445427

Page Count: 258
Publication Year: 2013

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Philosophy, Japanese -- 20th century.
  • Nishida, Kitarō, 1870-1945.
  • Tanabe, Hajime, 1885-1962.
  • Nishitani, Keiji, 1900-1990.
  • Nothing (Philosophy).
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