A reassessment of Watsuji Tetsurō is undertaken by bringing his changing view of the importance of Francis Bacon to bear on his understanding of the role of “rationality” in Japanese life. This reflection will enable an exploration of the relevance of the modernity/postmodernity distinction for modern Japanese philosophy.
Of Intrinsic Validity: A Study on the Relevance of Pūrva Mīmāmsā
Daniel Arnold, 26
The Mīmāmsāka doctrine of svatah prāmānya (“intrinsic validity”) has seldom been given the serious philosophical attention it deserves. This doctrine in fact grows out of a sophisticated critique of epistemological foundationalism. This critique, as well as the larger project that it serves, has striking similarities with the philosophical project advanced in William Alston’s Perceiving God. A comparison of the two helps to highlight the strengths and the problems of both projects, and shows, perhaps more importantly, that the Mīmāmsāka doctrine is in fact still relevant, as it resembles one of the more interesting positions currently in play in contemporary philosophy.
Nāgārjuna’s Fundamental Principle of Pratītyasamutpāda
Ewing Chinn, 54
Nāgārjuna contends that the doctrine of Pratītyasamutpāda (dependent origination), properly understood, constitutes the philosophical basis for the rejection and avoidance of all metaphysical theories and concepts (including causation). The companion doctrine of śūnyatā constitutes the denial of metaphysical realism (or “essentialism”) but does not imply an anti-realist, conventionalist view of reality (as Jay Garfield maintains). Pratītyasamutpāda, the true doctrine or, literally, “the exact or real nature of the case,” is really two-sided: it is (1) a “causal” principle explaining the origin of all that exists, and (2) a semantic principle concerning the mutual dependency of concepts and beliefs in both the systematic and historically contingent sense. The latter implies a pragmatic approach to meaning.
An interpretation of the yoga practice of prānāyāma (breath control) that is influenced by the existential phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty is offered. The approach to yoga is less concerned with comparing his thought to the classical yoga texts than with elucidating the actual experience of breath control through the constructs provided by Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of the lived body. The discussion of yoga can answer certain pedagogical goals but can never finally be severed from doing yoga. Academic discourse centered entirely on the theoretical concepts of yoga philosophies must to some extent remain incomplete. Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra is itself a manual of practice. For this reason, the commentary of the scholar-practitioner T.K.V. Desikachar has been chosen as the basis for this study, rather than a more exclusively theoretical commentary. In so doing, yoga will be approached as an experience or phenomenon, not just in the context of a series of academic debates.
An approach that allows us to see more clearly what Chan Buddhists mean by the inadequacy of language is based on three principles of liminology of language: (1) the radical problematization of any absolute, immobilized limit of language; (2) insight into the mutual connection and transition between two sides of language—speaking and non-speaking; and (3) linguistic twisting as the strategy of play at the limit of language. It helps us to rediscover how Chan masters perceived a dynamic, mutually involving relation between two sides of the limit of language, and how they demonstrated a marvelous interplay between speech and silence, a skillful performance of various novel linguistic strategies, et cetera, in order to negotiate the limit of language.
COMMENT AND DISCUSSION
“What is Philosophy?” The Status of Non-Western Philosophy in the Profession
Robert C. Solomon, 100
Reply to Stephen Phillips
Arindam Chakrabarti, 114
The Aesthetic Turn: Reading Eliot Deutsch on Comparative Philosophy, edited by Roger T. Ames
Reviewed by Joseph Grange, 116
Feminism and World Religions, edited by Arvind Sharma and Katherine K. Young
Reviewed by Jordan Paper, 118
Manufacturing Confucianism: Chinese Traditions and Universal Civilization, by Lionel M. Jensen
Reviewed by Stephen C. Angle, 120
Heidegger’s Hidden Sources: East Asian Influences on His Work, by Reinhard May and translated by Graham Parkes
Reviewed by Gereon Kopf, 122
Wandering at Ease in the Zhuangzi, edited by Roger T. Ames
Reviewed by James Miller, 125
Writing and Authority in Early China, by Mark Edward Lewis
Reviewed by Lothar von Falkenhausen, 127
Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds, edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryūken Williams
Reviewed by Steven Heine, 136
Inner Revolution: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Real Happiness, by Robert Thurman
Reviewed by John M. Koller, 138
SECOND TWENTY-FIVE YEAR INDEX: Volume 26 (1976) through Volume 50 (2000), 142