Most of us tend to be Aristotelians when it comes to anger. While admitting that uncontrolled anger is harmful and ought to be avoided, we reject as undesirable a state of being that would not allow us to express legitimate outrage. Hence, we seem to find a compelling moral attitude in Aristotle’s belief that we should get angry at the right time and for the right reasons and in the right way. Buddhism and Stoicism, however, carve out a position on the issue of anger that stands in marked contrast to the Aristotelian conception. This article considers the similarities between these two views of anger, contrasts the Buddhist with the much more common (at least in the West) Aristotelian one, and, finally, considers the objections of a prominent Western scholar to this shared Buddhist/Stoic conception.
What kinds of comparisons can legitimately be made between Mahāyāna Buddhism and Western ethical theories? Mahāyānists aspire to alleviate the suffering, promote the happiness, and advance the moral perfection of all sentient beings. This aspiration is best understood as expressing a form of universalist consequentialism. Many Indian Mahāyāna texts seem committed to claims about agent-neutrality that imply consequentialism and are not compatible with virtue ethics. Within the Mahāyāna tradition, there is some diversity of views: Asaṅga seems to hold a complex and interesting version of rule consequentialism, whereas Śāntideva is closer to act consequentialism.
Puritanism and Confucianism have little in common in terms of their substantive teachings, but they do share an emphasis on bounded, authoritative, localized human arrangements, and this profoundly challenges the dominant presumptions of contemporary globalization. It is not enough to say that these worldviews are ‘‘communitarian’’ alternatives to globalism, for that defines away what needs to be explained. This article compares the ontology of certain elements of the Puritan and Confucian worldviews, and, by focusing on the role of both authority and activity in these systems, assesses (with the assistance of Max Weber) the theories of harmony that each invoke. It concludes by identifying the distinct options that these two modes of human existence suggest for those who wish to defend the relevance of boundedness and authority, and thus the very possibility of a human-scaled politics, in today’s world.
Are Derrida’s critique of presence and Dōgen’s emphasis on presence incompatible? I argue that they are not—and, in fact, that there is a deep connection between the projects of the two thinkers. In showing this I hope to combat some serious misconceptions about essential aspects of both Zen Buddhism and deconstruction.
In his philosophy of nothingness, Kitar Nishida illuminates the matrix of transformation of the world ‘‘from the Created to the Creating’’ (tsukuru mono kara tsukurareta mono e) through shintai, or the body. In this matrix, shintai enters into the stage of an action-sensation continuum and emerges as the immaculate iconic tool of nothingness to create new figures as extended self. This idea of shintai has resonance with the development of postwar art in Japan. The ‘‘Space of Transparency’’ put forth by Ufan Lee, the leader of Monoha, is the principal example. This essay investigates Nishida’s notion of shintai and its influence on Lee’s theory of art.
This essay examines the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate and its shifting interpretations—those of Zhu Xi (1130–1200) and Wang Tingxiang (1474–1544) in particular—and by doing so explores the significance of ‘‘cosmogony’’ in the Confucian tradition and its significance for the change of political philosophy from the Song dynasty through the Ming. First, through a close reading of Zhu Xi’s commentaries on the Diagram, it is argued that they should be interpreted primarily as a statement of political philosophy rather than a mere textual study of Zhou Dunyi’s metaphysics. Wang Tingxiang’s reworking of the Diagram is examined in order to explore the transformation of its worldview through the shifted focus from li to qi. Then, by connecting the fundamental structures of the two cosmogonies to other aspects of their systems of thought, the moral and political implications that develop from the cosmogonies are unraveled. This examination of shifting interpretations of the Diagram will shed light on the cosmogonies as crucial expressions of political philosophy in the Confucian tradition without losing sight of their historical contexts.