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The Japanese philosophy of the twentieth century about cultural Meanings is Nothing as an expression of true Reality

Skvortsova E.L.


The article is devoted to analysis of the views of the 20 th century Japanese philosophers, who compared the ideological foundations of Western and Eastern civilizations. Thinkers such as Nishida Kitaro, Nishitani Keiji, Watsuji Tetsuro, Izutsu Toshihiko, Imamichi Tomonobu, Sasaki Ken’ichi reflected on the main metaphysical foundations of cultures, on their understanding of the true reality. When determining a person’s position in the field of cognition of this reality, they opposed the formallogical, subject-object static approach inherent in the West as the main one – to the bodily-emotional, dynamic, inherent in their own culture. According to Nishida Kitaro, the basis of the Eastern cultures (India, China, Japan) is the metaphysical idea of Nothingness, while Western world is based on the idea of Being. The purpose of the article is to prove that Nothingness is the fundamental category of Japanese philosophical thought and basic idea of the whole Far East culture. The method of correct description of written sources i.e., empirical, was chosen as the main one, the analytical method was also used. Nothingness appears before us as a fundamentally incalculable situation. Man’s actions rest in the “fog” of unpredictable transcendence with which he / she is connected through his / her body and mind. This transcendence appears to man in form of natural metamorphosis, social relationships, individual formation. 20 century Japanese thinkers see in the area bordering on such transcendence the formless substrate of all human cultures.


Nothingness; Being; transcendence; Japanese culture; Buddhism; Japanese philosophy; existent; mujo; West-East.

DOI: 10.31249/hoc/2023.01.07

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