Rupp in Perspective: An Examination of Two Topics in Beyond Existentialism and Zen
Daniel R. Alvarez, 153
Rupp’s Beyond Existentialism and Zen proffers, in its typological-structural analysis and model of religious pluralism, an alternative to the dominant Kantian models offered, for example, by John Hicks and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. The question for Rupp is not which religion is true and how do we decide that issue, a question that is answered in the Kantian approach in terms of an unknowable Ding an sich which all religions are trying to approximate or conceptualize (i.e. God or the Transcendent), albeit imperfectly; but rather, how does each of the world religions represent, at least in principle, a structural possibility for salvation or human flourishing, however different and incompatible their distinct prima facie truth-claims might be from each other. Although the potential for a radically relativistic model is implicit in Rupp’s approach, I argue that Rupp’s Hegelian assumptions lead him to accept relativism only in a provisional (“critical”) way; it is clear that for Rupp, under ideal epistemic conditions (for example, the Peircian “end of inquiry”), one final conceptualization of ultimate reality will emerge as the absolute truth. In the final part of the paper I defend a version of the relativistic model implicit in Rupp’s approach against both the Kantian model of Hicks, et al., and Rupp’s Hegelian-Peircian model which I further argue is incompatible, if not with the letter, certainly with the spirit of his own typological-structural analysis. In challenging what Rupp calls the truth of Zen in the first part of the paper, I further that not only is more than one salvific structural possibility available to us through the different world religions, but also that realizing those possibilities is principally a human responsibility; and that the cosmos is quite indifferent to and compatible with several possibilities, from the most destructive to the most conducive to human well being and flourishing.
Image-Thinking and the Understanding of “Being”: The Psychological Basis of Linguistic Expression
Yuasa Yasuo, translated by Shigenori Nagatomo and Jacques Fasan, 179
This article 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 the Western languages. To accomplish this task, it focuses on the understanding of “being” that relates to the theoretical thinking of the West and the image-thinking of the East Asia, while providing the psychological basis for the latter.
Dong Zhongshu (Tung Chung-shu, 179-104 B.C.E.) was the first prominent Confucian to integrate yin-yang theory into Confucianism. His constructive effort not only generates a new perspective on yin and yang, it also involves implications beyond its explicit contents. First, Dong changes the natural harmony (he 和) of yin and yang to an imposed unity (he 合) of yin and yang. Secondly, Dong identifies yang with human nature (xing) and benevolence (ren), and yin with emotion (qing) and greed (tan). Taken together, these two novelties grant a philosophical basis for the theory and practice of gender inequality in their specifically Chinese manifestations. An analysis of Dong’s work shows that the mere complementarity of yin and yang does not guarantee gender equality; they are not fixed categories, but together form a transformative dynamic harmony.
Thinking in Transition: Nishida Kitarō and Martin Heidegger
Elmar Weinmayr, translated by John W. M. Krummel and Douglas Berger, 232
In this essay Elmar Weinmayr examines the thought of two major philosophers of the twentieth century, the German existential phenomenologist Martin Heidegger and the seminal Japanese Kyoto School philosopher Nishida Kitarō in an attempt to discern to what extent their ideas may converge. Both thinkers are viewed as expressing, each through the lens of his own respective tradition, a world in transition with the rise of modernity in the West and its subsequent globalization. The popularity of Heidegger’s thought amongst Japanese philosophers of the century, despite its own admitted limitation to the Western “history of being,” is connected to Nishida’s opening of a uniquely Japanese path in its confrontation with Western philosophy. The focus is primarily on their later works (the post-Kehre Heidegger and the works of Nishida that have been designated “Nishida philosophy”). In these works, each in his own way attempts to overcome the subject-object dichotomy inherited from the tradition of Western metaphysics, by looking to a deeper structure from out of which both subjectivity and objectivity are derived and which embraces both. For Heidegger, the answer lies in being as the opening of unconcealment, from out of which beings emerge, and for Nishida, it is the place of nothingness within which beings are co-determined in their oppositions and relations. Concepts such as Nishida’s “discontinuous continuity,” “absolutely self-contradictory identity” (between one and many, whole and part, world and things), the mutual interdependence of individuals, and the self-determination of the world through the co-relative self-determination of individuals; and Heidegger’s “simultaneity” (zugleich) and “within one another” (ineinander) (of unconcealment and concealment, presencing and absencing), and their “between” (Zwischen) and “jointure” (Fuge) are examined. Through a discussion of these ideas, the suggestion is made of a possible “transition” (Übergang) of both Western and Eastern thinking, in their mutual encounter, both in relation to each other and each in relation to its own past history, leading to both a self-discovery in the other and to a simultaneous self-reconstitution.
The Zhouyi is the first of all Chinese classics. It has, since medieval times, fascinated scholars from different countries of the world, who have produced numerous studies and expressed a dazzling array of views on its nature. I argue that the Zhouyi has retained its exalted status and enduring appeal largely because it is an open book amenable to all kinds of appropriations and manipulations, and its openness comes from its being a semiotic system whose principle of composition warrants unlimited interpretations. Through a semiotic-cum-philosophical inquiry, this article shows that the Zhouyi is first and foremost a system of representation and because of its unique structure and principle of signification, it forms an open hermeneutic space with infinite possibilities of interpretation.
COMMENT AND DISCUSSION
Human Rights, China and Cross-Cultural Inquiry: Philosophy, History and Power Politics
Randall Peerenboom, 283
Cross-cultural Dialogues on Human Rights and the Limits of Conversation: Response to Angle
Randall Peerenboom, 324
Evil as the Good?: A Reply to Brook Ziporyn
David R. Loy, 348
Yoga: The Indian Tradition, edited by Ian Whicher and David Carpenter
Reviewed by Marzenna Jakubczak, 353
The Buddhist Unconscious: The Ālaya-vijñāna in the Context of Indian Buddhist Thought, by William Waldron
Reviewed by Mark Siderits, 358
Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: An Unfolding Dialogue, edited by Jeremy D. Safran
Reviewed by David R. Loy, 363
Different Paths, Different Summits: A Model for Religious Pluralism, by Stephen Kaplan
Reviewed by John B. Cobb, 367
Denying Divinity: Apophasis in the Patristic Christian and Soto Zen Buddhist Traditions, by J. P. Williams
Reviewed by Joseph O’Leary, 370