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Kitaro Nishida

kitaro nishida, kitaro nishida quotes about life
Kitarō Nishida 西田 幾多郎, Nishida Kitarō, May 19,1 1870 – June 7, 1945 was a prominent Japanese philosopher, founder of what has been called the Kyoto School of philosophy He graduated from the University of Tokyo during the Meiji period in 1894 with a degree in philosophy He was named professor of the Fourth Higher School in Ishikawa Prefecture in 1899 and later became professor of philosophy at Kyoto University Nishida retired in 1927 In 1940, he was awarded the Order of Culture 文化勲章, bunka kunshō He participated in establishing the Chiba Institute of Technology 千葉工業大学 from 1940

Nishida Kitarō died at the age of 75 of a renal infection His cremated remains were divided in three and buried at different locations Part of his remains was buried in the Nishida family grave in his birthplace Unoke, Ishikawa A second grave can be found at Tōkei-ji Temple in Kamakura, where his friend D T Suzuki organized Nishida's funeral and was later also buried in the adjacent plot Nishida's third grave is at Reiun'in 霊雲院, Reiun'in, a temple in the Myōshin-ji compound in Kyoto2


  • 1 Philosophy
  • 2 Legacy
  • 3 List of works
  • 4 See also
  • 5 Footnotes
  • 6 References and further reading
    • 61 Translated works
    • 62 Books
    • 63 Articles
  • 7 External links


Being born in the third year of the Meiji period, Nishida was presented with a new, unique opportunity to contemplate Eastern philosophical issues in the fresh light that Western philosophy shone on them Nishida's original and creative philosophy, incorporating ideas of Zen and Western philosophy, was aimed at bringing the East and West closer Throughout his lifetime, Nishida published a number of books and essays including An Inquiry into the Good and "The Logic of the Place of Nothingness and the Religious Worldview" Taken as a whole, Nishida’s life work was the foundation for the Kyoto School of philosophy and the inspiration for the original thinking of his disciples

The most famous concept in Nishida's philosophy is the logic of basho Japanese: 場所; usually translated as "place" or "topos", a non-dualistic concrete logic, meant to overcome the inadequacy of the subject–object distinction essential to the subject logic of Aristotle and the predicate logic of Immanuel Kant, through the affirmation of what he calls the "absolutely contradictory self-identity", a dynamic tension of opposites that, unlike the dialectical logic of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, does not resolve in a synthesis Rather, it defines its proper subject by maintaining the tension between affirmation and negation as opposite poles or perspectives

When David A Dilworth wrote about Nishida’s work, he did not mention the debut book in his useful classification In his book Zen no kenkyū An Inquiry into the Good, Nishida writes about experience, reality, good and religion He argues that the most profound form of experience is the pure experience Nishida analyzes the thought, the will, the intellectual intuition and the pure experience among them3 According to Nishida’s vision as well as to the essence of Asian wisdom, one craves harmony in experience, for unity4


Tomb of Nishida Kitarō in Kamakura

According to Masao Abe, "During World War II right wing thinkers attacked him as antinationalistic for his appreciation of Western philosophy and logic But after the war left wing thinkers criticized his philosophy as nationalistic because of his emphasis on the traditional notion of nothingness He recognized a kind of universality in Western philosophy and logic but did not accept that it was the only universality"5

List of worksedit

  • 1911 An Inquiry into the Good 善の研究, Zen no kenkyū
  • 1915 Thinking and Experience 思索と体験, Shisaku to taiken
  • 1913–17 Intuition and Reflection in Self-consciousness 自覚に於ける直観と反省, Jikaku ni okeru chokkan to taiken
  • 1918–9 The Problem of Consciousness 意識の問題, Ishiki no Mondai
  • 1920–23 Art and Morality 芸術と道徳, Geijutsu to dōtoku
  • 1923–27 From the Acting to the Seeing 働くものから見るものへ, Hatarakumono kara mirumono e
  • 1928–29 The System of Universals in Self-Awareness 一般者の自覚的体系, Ippansha no jikakuteki taikei
  • 1930–32 The Self-Awareness and Determination of the Nothingness 無の自覚的限定, Mu no jikakuteki gentei
  • 1933 Fundamental Problems of Philosophy World of Act 哲学の根本問題行為の世界, Tetsugaku no konpon mondai kōi no sekai
  • 1934 Fundamental Problems of Philosophy Continued World as Dialectic 哲学の根本問題 続編, Tetsugaku-no konpon mondai zokuhen bennsyouhouteki-sekai
  • 1935 Philosophical Proceedings 1 —An Attempt for A System of Philosophy 哲学的論文集 第一 ―哲学体系への企図, Tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū daiichi ―tetsugakutaikei e no kito
  • 1936–37 Philosophical Proceedings 2 哲学的論文集第二, Tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū daini
  • 1938–39 Philosophical Proceedings 3 哲学的論文集第三, tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū daisan
  • 1940–41 Philosophical Proceedings 4 哲学的論文集第四, Tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū daiyon
  • 1943–44 Philosophical Proceedings 5 哲学的論文集第五, Tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū daigo
  • 1944–45 Philosophical Proceedings 6 哲学的論文集第六, Tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū dairoku
  • 1944–46 Philosophical Proceedings 7 哲学的論文集第七, Tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū dainana

See alsoedit

  • Meontology
  • Nothingness
  • Philosopher's Walk
  • Soku hi


  1. ^ Yusa Michiko Zen & Philosophy: An Intellectual Biography of Nishida Kitaro University of Hawaii Press, 2002, p 5
  2. ^ Yusa Michiko Zen & Philosophy: An Intellectual Biography of Nishida Kitaro University of Hawaii Press, 2002, p 337
  3. ^ Nishida, Kitarō 1980, Zen no kenkyū An Inquiry into the Good, Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten
  4. ^ Iţu, Mircia 2005, Nishida Kitarō O cercetare asupra binelui, Braşov: Orientul latin, page 240 ISBN 973-9338-77-1
  5. ^ Abe, Maso 1987 An Inquiry Into the Good New Haven: Yale University Press p xxv ISBN 978-0-300-05233-6 

References and further readingedit

Translated worksedit

  • An Inquiry into the Good, trans Masao Abe and Christopher Ives New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990
  • "An Explanation of Beauty," trans Steve Odin Monumenta Nipponica vol 42 no 2 1987: 211–217
  • Intuition and Reflection in Self-Consciousness, trans Valdo H Viglielmo, Takeuchi Yoshinori and Joseph S O'Leary Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987
  • Last Writings: Nothingness and the Religious Worldview, trans David Dilworth Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993
    • "Logic of the Place of Nothinginess and the Religious Worldview"
    • "Concerning My Logic"
  • Place and Dialectic: Two Essays by Nishida Kitaro, trans John W M Krummel and Shigenori Nagatomo Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012
  • Ontology of Production: Three Essays, trans William Haver Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012
  • The Unsolved Issue of Consciousness, trans John W M Krummell, in Philosophy East and West 62, no 1 2012:44–59
  • L’Éveil à soi, trans Jacynthe Tremblay Paris: CNRS Éditions, 2003, 298 p
  • De ce qui agit à ce qui voit, trans Jacynthe Tremblay Montréal: Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 2015, 364 p
  • Autoéveil Le Système des universels, trans Jacynthe Tremblay Nagoya: Chisokudō Publications, 2017


  • Carter, Robert E The Nothingness beyond God: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Nishida Kitaro Paragon House, 1989 ISBN 1-55778-761-1
  • Christopher Ives Imperial-Way Zen: Ishikawa Hakugen's Critique and Lingering Questions for Buddhist Ethics University of Hawaii Press, 2009 ISBN 978-0-8248-3331-2
  • Heisig, James W Philosophers of Nothingness University of Hawaii Press, 2001 ISBN 0-8248-2481-4
  • Nishitani Keiji Nishida Kitaro University of California Press, 1991 ISBN 0-520-07364-9
  • Tremblay Jacynthe, Nishida Kitarō Le Jeu de l’individuel et de l’universel, Paris, CNRS Éditions, 2000, 334 p
  • Tremblay Jacynthe, Introduction à la philosophie de Nishida, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2007, 141 p
  • Tremblay Jacynthe, Auto-éveil et temporalité Les Défis posés par la philosophie de Nishida, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2007, 229 p
  • Tremblay Jacynthe, L’Être-soi et l’être-ensemble L’Auto-éveil comme méthode philosophique chez Nishida, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2007, 194 p
  • Tremblay Jacynthe, Je suis un lieu, Montréal, Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2016, 316 p
  • Tremblay Jacynthe ed, Laval Théologique et Philosophique Philosophie japonaise du XXe siècle, 64 June 2008, no 2 233-573
  • Tremblay Jacynthe ed, Philosophes japonais contemporains, Montréal, Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2010, 492 p
  • Tremblay Jacynthe ed, Théologiques Les philosophes de l’École de Kyōto et la théologie 12 2012, no 1-2 3-383
  • Tremblay Jacynthe ed, Milieux modernes et reflets japonais Chemins philosophiques, Québec, Presses de l’Université Laval, 2015, 286 p with Marie-Hélène Parizeau
  • Wargo, Robert J J The Logic Of Nothingness: A Study Of Nishida Kitaro University of Hawaii Press, 2005 ISBN 0-8248-2969-7
  • Yusa Michiko Zen & Philosophy: An Intellectual Biography of Nishida Kitaro University of Hawaii Press, 2002 ISBN 0-8248-2459-8


  • Botz-Bornstein, Thorsten "Nishida and Wittgenstein: from pure experience to Lebensform or new perspectives for a philosophy of intercultural communication," Asian Philosophy 13,1 2003: 53–70
  • Botz-Bornstein, Thorsten "The I and the Thou: A Dialogue between Nishida Kitarō and Mikhail Bakhtin,” Japan Review 16 2004: 259–284
  • Heisig, James W and Rein Raud, eds "Nishida’s Deodorized Basho and the Scent of Zeami’s Flower" Classical Japanese Philosophy Nagoya: Nanzan Institute for Religion & Culture, 2010: 247–73
  • Heisig, James W “Nishida’s Medieval Bent,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 31/1 2004: 55–72
  • ——— “Non-I and Thou: Nishida, Buber, and the Moral Consequences of Self-Actualization,” Philosophy East and West 50: 2 2000: 179–207
  • ——— “Philosophy as Spirituality: The Way of the Kyoto School,” Takeuchi Yoshinori et al, ed, Buddhist Spirituality Volume 2: Later China, Korea, Japan, and the Modern World, New York: Crossroad, 1999, 367–88
  • ——— “Nothing and Nowhere East and West: Nishida Kitarō and Hints of a Common Ground” Angelaki 17/3 2012: 17 –30 Angelaki 17/3 2012: 17–30
  • Raud, Rein "'Place' and 'being-time': spatiotemporal concepts in the thought of Nishida Kitarō and Dōgen Kigen" Philosophy East and West, 54 No 1 2004: 29-51
  • Rigsby, Curtis A "Nishida on God, Barth and Christianity," Asian Philosophy 19, no 2 2009: 119-157

External linksedit

  • Nishida Kitaro at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  • Nishida Kitaro at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Nishida Kitarō Bibliography at the European Network of Japanese Philosophy ENOJP
  • Derrida and the Decentered Universe This article mentions Nishida's views in comparison with Derrida's
  • Works of Nishida Kitarō at the Bibliographia: An Online Journal for the History of Philosophy
Preceded by
Department of Philosophy Chair, Kyoto University
Succeeded by
Hajime Tanabe

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