Philosophy East and West, vol. 64, no. 4 (2014)

Special Issue: Tenth East-West Philosophers’ Conference, “Value and Values: Economics and Justice in an Age of Global Interdependence”


Retrospective on the Global Reach of the East-West Philosophers’ Conferences (Plenary Address at the Tenth East-West Philosophers’ Conference, May 16, 2011)
Marietta Stepanyants (Stepaniants), 829

Comparative philosophy has been institutionalized in different ways due to the East-West Philosophers’ Conferences started in Honolulu in 1939. The tradition of the EWPC is dynamic, sensitive to the changes and demands of the times. It moved ahead considerably from the initial “synthesis” approach to an examination of specific philosophical issues and themes that could be addressed from the background of different cultural perspectives. The EWPC might justly be recognized as the genuine forerunner of the dialogue of civilizations.

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Philosophy East and West, vol. 64, no. 3 (2014)

Remembering Professor David Jinadasa Kalupahana

Professor David Jinadasa Kalupahana (1936–2014)
Asanga Tilakaratne, 520

David Kalupahana and the Field of Early Buddhism
Wimal Dissanayake, 523


Out of the Ge-stell?: The Role of the East in Heidegger’s das andere Denken
Lin Ma, Jaap van Brakel, 527

Heidegger has notoriously named the essence of the technological world the Ge-stell (framework, enframing). Here, we reveal that yet another term, Gestellnis, figures in some of his writings from the 1970s. According to Heidegger, as the essence of the Ge-stell, Gestellnis shows a way toward the fore-garden of Ereignis (appropriating event). In opposing the Ge-stell mode of comportment toward beings, Heidegger glimpses the promise of the other thinking, which seems to be useless from the perspective of traditional metaphysical thinking. In characterizing this mode of thinking, he resorts to Zhuangzi’s parables of uselessness (wuyong 无用). One way of stepping out of the Ge-stell is to make central the comportment toward beings as embodied in non-metaphysical art. Heidegger designates this as das andere Denken (the other thinking). In charting this course, Heidegger turns toward ancient Asian traditions insofar as they remain uncontaminated by current planetary-interstellar world conditions, which for him epitomize the absence of the dichotomy of appearance and essence. From Heidegger’s standpoint, before the Western tradition gains maturity through its own self-transformation, the allegedly inevitable event of East-West dialogue can only be anticipated. However, at the ontic level East Asian sources have undeniably played a role in his search for ways out of the Ge-stell.

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Philosophy East and West, vol. 64, no. 2 (2014)


Patience and Perspective
Nicolas Bommarito, 269

In much of Western philosophy, patience tends to be either overlooked or described as being non-moral and valuable only instrumentally. This is in stark contrast with its central role in Buddhist ethics. Offered here is a Buddhist-inspired account of how patience can be a moral virtue. It is argued that virtuous patience involves having a perspective on the place of our own desires and values among others and a sense of their relative importance.
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Philosophy East and West, vol. 64, no. 1 (2014)


What Can Activist Scholars Learn from Rumi?
Radha D’Souza, 1

The neoliberal restructuring of higher education everywhere is accompanied by a distinctive branch of knowledge known as activist scholarship. Drawing from a number of disciplines including education, sociology, social anthropology, social theory, law, and human rights, activist scholarship proclaims as its core mission Marx’s imperative that philosophy should transform the world. Activist scholars affirm human emancipation as the goal of scholarship and set themselves the task of building bridges between theory and practice. There is a spectrum of views on the theory-practice nexus. Regardless, they all share certain common grounds that affirm (1) a nexus between theory and practice; (2) a relationship between knowledge and action; (3) knowledge as a condition for emancipation and freedom; (4) the affirmation of love and solidarity for social change; (5) the importance of everyday life; and (6) the role of the activist scholar in social change. These themes form part of a long and entrenched tradition in dissident Eastern philosophies, in particular the poet-saint traditions. Here each of the themes in activist scholarship is interrogated using the works of Mawlana Jalal al Din Rumi, the thirteenth-century Persian poet. What can activist scholars learn from Rumi?
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Philosophy East and West, vol. 63, no. 2 (2013)


The “Mandate of Heaven”: Mencius and the Divine Command Theory of Political Legitimacy
A. T. Nuyen, 113

Commentators have recently turned their attention to the Confucian notion of the mandate of heaven. The question is: Is the ruler legitimate because Heaven says so, or does Heaven say so because he is qualified as a legitimate ruler (i.e., by the way he benefits the people)? The answer depends on how the notion of mandate of heaven is interpreted. In what might be called the liberal interpretation, the mandate of heaven lies in the will of the people. In what might be called the conservative reading, the mandate to rule lies in a heaven that transcends the people. To subscribe to the latter is to subscribe to what might be called the “Divine Command Theory of political legitimacy,” analogous to the Divine Command Theory of morality. By contrast, the liberal reading of “mandate of heaven” is analogous to the “moral autonomy” position. Mencius’ view on political legitimacy will be discussed in terms of the Divine Command Theory so as to permit a comparison with Kant’s account of moral judgments. It will be argued that Kant manages to avoid being impaled on either horn of the Euthyphro dilemma by grasping both horns. In the same way, Mencius’ view can be read as one that incorporates both the liberal and the conservative positions. It will be argued that such reading is more consistent with textual evidence and renders Mencius’ position more coherent.
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Philosophy East and West, vol. 63, no. 1 (2013)

Special Issue: 2010 International Conference on East-West Comparative Philosophy at Seoul National University

Guest Editor Introduction: Determinism, Responsibility, and Asian Philosophy
Mark Siderits, 1


Moral Luck, Self-Cultivation, and Responsibility: The Confucian Conception of Free Will and Determinism
Kyung-Sig Hwang, 4

In this essay it is argued that the conception of free will and determinism implied by Confucianism (of Confucius and Mencius) takes a compatibilist form. On one hand, it is argued that it is difficult to see libertarian free will in Confucianism. Confucianism’s virtue ethics, with its emphasis on human character formation, cannot avoid the influence of internal factors and external circumstances on one’s character that are beyond one’s control. On the other hand, Confucianism espouses voluntary character formation and self-cultivation through human choice. This attitude likewise renders a hard determinist view untenable. With hard determinism and absolute free will both difficult to accept, the Confucian ethicists, beginning with Confucius and Mencius, seem to have been unable to avoid swinging between two extremes. However, as ethicists who exhort voluntary moral effort, they place autonomous action in the forefront of their compatibilism over inborn luck or fated events. Although this compatibilism may be valid from the standpoint of a practical philosophy that supports existing moral practices and responsibility, I examine whether it is truly tenable from a theoretical perspective.
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Philosophy East and West, vol. 62, no. 4 (2012)


Hōnen and James on Religious Transformation: Psychological Conditions of Conversion and the Nembutsu
Yumiko Inukai, 439

Hōnen, the founder of the Jōdo School of Buddhism in Japan, came to a strong conviction of the efficacy of the nembutsu through his deep personal experience, in which he realized that he would be incapable of mastering the Buddhist teachings and practices. Although Hōnen refrains from urging the nembutsu practitioner to focus on the mental components of the nembutsu, a close reading of his texts reveals that he has a systematic view of a psychological process that the nembutsu practitioner must go through in order to recite the nembutsu properly. I argue that Hōnen’s account of a deep, dynamic psychological structure of the nembutsu practitioner exhibits a strong parallel to psychological factors in the preconditions of religious experience elucidated by James in his Varieties of Religious Experience. Moreover, interestingly, Hōnen’s religious conviction of the Jōdo belief being grounded in his own emotionally infused personal experience accords well with James’ contention regarding religion in general. James’ psychological analyses of religious experience provide an illuminating framework in which we can understand the significance of the psychological process of the nembutsu practitioner expounded by Hōnen in his teachings of the nembutsu as well as the importance of Hōnen’s own personal experience.
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Philosophy East and West, vol. 62, no. 3 (2012)


Nishida Kitarō, G.W.F. Hegel, and the Pursuit of the Concrete: A Dialectic of Dialectics
Lucy Schultz, 319

A comparison of the dialectical worldviews of Nishida and Hegel is made by developing the notion of dialectical ontology as concrete philosophy in which logic is understood to extend beyond the level of discourse to the point where knowledge and experience cease to be opposed. The differences between their dialectical methods are outlined, highlighting Hegel’s emphasis on the actualization of self-consciousness and historical progress in contrast to Nishida’s concepts of the dialectal universal “place,” the external now, and the self as expressive monad. It is argued that neither thinker is able to fulfill his own demand for a maximally concrete philosophy. However, by performing a dialectic of their dialectics, the pursuit of concrete philosophy is furthered. Takahashi Satomi’s notion of “inclusive dialectics” is introduced to aid in articulating the comparative standpoint through which such a dialectic may be conceived.

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Philosophy East and West, vol. 62, no. 2 (2012)


The Existential Moment: Rereading Dōgen’s Theory of Time
Rein Raud, 153

This article argues for a new way to interpret Dōgen’s theory of time, reading the notion of uji as momentary existence, and shows that many notorious difficulties usually associated with the theory can be overcome with this approach, which is also more compatible with some fundamental assumptions of Buddhist philosophy (the non-durational existence of dharmas, the arbitrariness of linguistic designations and the concepts they point to, the absence of self-nature in beings, etc.). It is also shown how this reading leads to an innovative treatment of the concept of selfhood, viewing the self as the active openness of an existent to the surrounding world, with which it is able to identify through a mutual relation with other existents within the existential moment. This argument is supported by an alternative translation in the “momentary mode” of those extracts of the fascicle that introduce or elaborate on Dōgen’s key concepts.

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Philosophy East and West, vol. 62, no. 1 (2012)


Parasitism and Disjunctivism in Nyāya Epistemology
Matthew R. Dasti, 1

This article examines a number of arguments I collectively term arguments from parasitism, which Nyāya employs to illustrate that rational reflection, the institution of language, and even error itself presuppose a ground-level basis of veridical cognitive interaction with the world. It further suggests that by such arguments, coupled with its stress on the inerrancy of pramāṇas, Nyāya anticipates and supports the contemporary philosophical movement known as (epistemological) disjunctivism.

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