In every part of the world and in every era, philosophers have reflected on the meaning of culture and its philosophical significance. Japanese Philosophers on Society and Culture:Nishida Kitarō, Watsuji Tetsurō, and Kuki Shūzō explores how three of Japan's preeminent philosophers of the twentieth century—Nishida Kitarō, Watsuji Tetsurō and Kuki Shūzō—defined culture and analyzed what it tells us about social relations. Graham Mayeda also explores little-known aspects of the work of each philosopher, including a philosophical analysis of Watsuji's travel diary, Pilgrimages to the Ancient Temples in Nara, the place of intuition in Kuki's ethics of otherness, and the role of culture in realizing Nishida's concept of reality as the historical world. Each of these three philosophers adapted philosophical methodologies such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, and dialectical logic to studying the traditional sources of Japanese culture: Confucianism, Buddhism, Bushidō and Shintō. This book focuses on the way that Nishida, Watsuji and Kuki critiqued the methodologies that they adopted from European philosophy and modified them to reflect the values that form the basis of their own cultural tradition. Finally, Mayeda engages with the problem of cultural essentialism by identifying the progressive and conservative elements of each philosopher's characterization of Japanese culture.
Graham Mayeda is associate professor of law at the University of Ottawa.
Chapter 1: Japanese Cultural and Social Philosophy in Context
Chapter 2: Watsuji Tetsurō’s Early Views on Culture: A Study of Pilgrimages to the Ancient Temples in Nara (Koji Junrei)
Chapter 3: The Development of Watsuji’s Theory of Culture and Climate: An Interpretation of Fūdo
Chapter 4: Watsuji’s Three Climatic and Cultural Zones: Anti-Essentialist and Deterministic Readings
Chapter 5: Kuki’s Hermeneutic Approach to the Floating World – Iki as the Living Form of Japanese Idealism
Chapter 6: Kuki and Heidegger – The Method for Interpreting Culture
Chapter 7: Kuki Shūzō's Concepts of Culture and Society -- The Intuition at the Heart of Ethics
Chapter 8: Nishida: Who I Am and Who You Are
Chapter 9: Nishida’s Views on Morality and Culture: The Moral Individual and the Moral Culture
About the Author