Theory of Personhood in Nishida Kitarō and Mou Zongsan: Reflections on Critical Buddhism's View of the Kyoto School

Taiwan Journal of East Asian Studies 12 (1):41-63 (2015)
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Abstract

This paper attempts to interpret the theory of personhood in the works of Nishida Kitarō (1870-1945) in a way that refutes a certain type of Nishida interpretation that Critical Buddhism offers. According to this type of interpretation, the logic of basho is a modern version of the Qixinlun system. Based on this interpretation, Critical Buddhism denounces Kyoto School philosophy as "topical Buddhism." This paper shows how Nishida himself consciously differentiates his philosophy from the idealistic and monistic system with which the earlier version of the logic of basho can easily be confused. To show that his theory of personhood opposes the Qixinlun-like system, I argue that Mou Zongsan's (1909-1995) Tiantai theory of personhood is analogous to Nishida's and explore the common nature of their philosophies.

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Tomomi Asakura
University of Tokyo

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