James W. Heisig
Nanzan University
The essay that follows is, in substance, a lecture delivered in Brussels on 7 December 2016 to the 2nd International Conference of the European Network of Japanese Philosophy. In it I argue that the strategy of qualifying nothingness as an “absolute,” which was adopted by Kyoto School thinkers as a way to come to grips with fundamental problems of Western philosophy, is inherently ambiguous and ultimately weakens the notion of nothingness itself. In its place, a proposal is made to define nothingness in terms of “connectedness.” The discussion is bound on both ends by an apology for transgressing established academic boundaries. On one end, I open with a brief digression on a common ground for philosophies East and West as a mestizaje to which no tradition can claim dominance. On the other, I close with an appeal for restoring respect for the role of mythical narration as a way to bridge the connection between theory and practice without having to revert to moral absolutes, particularly as it relates to safeguarding this fragile planet of ours from the ongoing sepsis of economic “progress.”
Keywords Nothingness   absolute   Kyoto School   Nishida   Nishitani   connectedness   myth   universal   metaiconography
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