What is the philosophical significance of Heidegger’s interpretation of the Japanese notion of kotoba (言葉) for Japanese philosophy? Was his conversation with Tezuka Tomio a real dialogue or not? To answer to these correlated questions, I elucidate Heidegger’s 1954 essay “A Dialogue on Language” by following a topological mode of thinking, and I inquire into the way-making of a “thinking conversation”. First, I problematize whether Heidegger engaged in a genuine dialogue with Tezuka. To that end, I distinguish the hermeneutic horizon (...) of the actual encounter between Tezuka and Heidegger from Heidegger’s essay which places Tezuka (the Japanese) and Heidegger (the Inquirer) in a fictional philosophical conversation. Second, I argue that Heidegger’s topological method of interpretating kotoba can be read as a poetic means of thematizing East-West dialogue. Third and finally, exploring the topological sense of kotoba, I engage with third generation Kyoto School thinker Ueda Shizuteru’sideaof“hollow words” of language, situated in a twofold view of the world. I conclude that the true character of Heidegger’s conversation with Tezuka can be identified neither in Heidegger’s “actual” encounter with Tezuka, nor merely in Heidegger’s “hollow” essay. Departing from Ueda’s account of kotoba, it appears that a genuine conversation with language can be located in the dialogue of actuality and hollowness, which finds it expression in poetic language. (shrink)
Situated Meaning adds a new dimension, both literal and metaphoric, to our understanding of Japan. The essays in this volume leave the vertical axis of hierarchy and subordination—an organizing trope in much of the literature on Japan—and focus instead on the horizontal, interpreting a wide range of cultural practices and orientations in terms of such relational concepts as uchi ("inside") and soto ("outside"). Evolving from a shared theoretical focus, the essays show that in Japan the directional orientations inside and outside (...) are specifically linked to another set of meanings, denoting "self" and "society." After Donald L. Brenneis's foreward, Jane M. Bachnick, Charles J. Quinn, Jr., Patricia J. Wetzel, Nancy R. Rosenberger, and Robert J. Sukle discuss "Indexing Self and Social Context." "Failure to Index: Boundary Disintegration and Social Breakdown" is the topic of Dorinne K. Kondo, Matthews M. Hamabata, Michael S. Molasky, and Jane Bachnik. Finally, Charles Quinn explores "Language as a Form of Life." Jane M. Bachnik is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is presently pursuing research in Japan under a Senior Fellowship Grant from the Japan Foundation. Charles J. Quinn, Jr., is Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the Ohio State University. Originally published in 1994. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905. (shrink)
For any reader with knowledge of the works of Ernst Cassirer, the question that will come to mind on approaching Raji C. Steineck’s Kritik der symbolischen Formen I: Symbolische Form und Funktion is: Why Japan? Cassirer’s great range of writings on the history of thought, culture, and symbol involves no sustained attention to Japanese culture. Cassirer also never addresses problems of East-West philosophy, nor did he, unlike some other German thinkers in the twentieth century, engage in correspondence with Japanese thinkers. (...) In the first volume of Philosophie der symbolischen Formen, Cassirer does make reference in several places to the Japanese language based on Johann Joseph Hoffmann’s Japanische Sprachlehre... (shrink)
Dans la double conception du sujet que précise Tokieda Motoki dans sa théorie du processus langagier : sujet subordonné au prédicat et sujet d’action langagière volontaire, conception fondée sur une théorie linguistique inspirée principalement d’études grammaticales de la langue japonaise et qui s’est donc totalement émancipée du paradigme de la grammaire des langues européennes, on peut retrouver, de manière tout à fait paradoxale et frappante, le sens originaire du sujet, à savoir celui de son origine latine « subjectum » qui (...) est d’ailleurs la traduction du mot grec « ὑποκείμενον », à double titre : celui qui est assujetti ou soumis à une instance supérieure ou plus fondamentale et celui qui est susceptible de donner lieu ou occasion aux accidents, aux faits contingents. (shrink)
One of the most characteristic features of the philosophy of Dōgen is his idiosyncratic use of language, in particular, the replacement of expected semantic connections between two adjacent Chinese characters with improbable, but grammatically possible ones, from which new philosophical concepts are then derived. The article places this writing technique in the context of the linguistic changes that were taking place both in China and Japan at the time of Dōgen's writing as well as the general attitude of Chan/zen thinkers (...) toward language, arguing that the Chan/zen critique was not pointed to language as such, but its reified and alienated forms. Dōgen's concept-making could accordingly be seen as an effort to keep language ‘alive.’ The article offers two possible ways of interpreting his concepts: they can either be seen as relativisations of the mainstream reading norms, or as the creation of total semantic links in which all the existing ways of linking two characters are simultaneously possible. (shrink)
The Japanese marker _-te-i-_ can have progressive, resultative, and existential perfect readings and has often been regarded as ambiguous. This paper shows that there is no clear evidence that _-te-i-_ is ambiguous. It proposes a monosemous analysis of _-te-i-_ that unifies its multiple readings and shows how progressives and perfects can form a natural semantic class. Within the context of a Discourse Representation Theory, I propose that _-te-i-_ consists of an imperfective operator _-te-_ and a stativizer _-i-_. The imperfective operator (...) _-te-_ takes an eventuality as its argument and outputs a subpart of the eventuality, which precedes a reference time interval. Secondly, a stativizer _-i-_ maps the subpart of the eventuality, i.e. _-te-_'s output, onto a state which overlaps with reference time and whose category is semantically underspecified and is determined via pragmatic inferences. The vague output of the imperfective operator, i.e. whether it is a proper subpart or nonproper subpart of an eventuality, leads to the contrast between progressive readings and perfect readings of _-te-i-_. (shrink)
This essay investigates why and how East Asian thought, particularly Chinese thought, has traditionally developed differently from that of Western philosophy by examining the linguistic differences discerned in the Chinese language and Western languages. To accomplish this taks, it focuses on the understanding of "being" that relates to the theoretical thinking of the West and the image- thinking of East Asia, while providing a psychological basis for the latter.
Nāgārjuna and Dōgen point to many of the same Buddhist insights because they deconstruct the same type of dualities, mostly versions of our commonsense but delusive distinction between substance and attribute, subject and predicate. This is demonstrated by examining chapter 2 of the "Mūlamadhyamakakārikā" and Dōgen's transgression of traditional Buddhist teachings in his "Shōbōgenzō." Nonetheless, they reach quite different conclusions about the possibility of language expressing a "true" understanding of the world.
We are born of the nothingness incomprehensible to each of us individuals and find death in the midst of the limitlessness. I have absolutely no idea why I am living here and now. I don’t know why the world is the way it is. I have been thrust into existence and am coldly surrounded by the limitless space. When humans cannot fully grasp the foundations of existence, we become encumbered by the feeling known as “fear.” I was a young boy (...) when I acquired that fear of death. (....) -/- The place where young people encounter “death” is in manga. In the last issue of Devilman, the creature was the very image of death, a disembodied torso. In the background angels are dancing on the sea. Also, in the final episode of Joe of Tomorrow, death lies in a ring. (shrink)
This study had two purposes. The first purpose was to determine whether certain aspects of the Japanese language were reflected in examples of the Japanese cultural construct of contemporary essays. The second purpose was to show how these aspects of the Japanese language reflect the intuitive, non-logical nature of Japanese thinking. ;Three characteristics of the Japanese language were first identified: orientation to a particular situation; relative freedom of word order; and ellipsis, especially omission of the subject. A contemporary Japanese essay (...) was then analyzed at the syntactic level and compared to its English translation. It was found that at the syntactic level the Japanese essay showed greater freedom of word order than its English translation and that ellipsis of the subject was present in several places in the essay. Relative freedom to express different aspects of reality and to respond to reality in an emotional way were then discussed in relation to word order, and the Japanese way of approaching reality called "no-mind" was discussed in relation to ellipsis. ;Three additional Japanese essays and three additional English-language essays were then analyzed at the macrostructure level. It was found that the Japanese essays had a much stronger situational and natural aspect than the English essays, that they had a much less rigid structure according to the rules for constructing essays in English, and that they had a much weaker logical aspect. The ways in which these four aspects of the macrostructure of the essays allow the writer to write according to his feeling or emotion, especially about nature, and how they reflect the intuitional, non-logical nature of Japanese thinking was then discussed. ;Thus at both the syntactic and at the macrostructure level, the contemporary Japanese essays exhibited aspects which are characteristic of the Japanese language and that reflect the intuitive, non-logical nature of Japanese thinking. (shrink)