Philosophers of Nothingness: An Essay on the Kyoto School

Paperback: $27.00
ISBN-13: 9780824824815
Published: May 2001
Hardback: $90.00
ISBN-13: 9780824824808
Published: May 2001

Additional Information

392 pages
  • About the Book
  • The past twenty years have seen the publication of numerous translations and commentaries on the principal philosophers of the Kyoto School, but so far no general overview and evaluation of their thought has been available, either in Japanese or in Western languages. James Heisig, a longstanding participant in these efforts, has filled that gap with Philosophers of Nothingness. In this extensive study, the ideas of Nishida Kitaro, Tanabe Hajime, and Nishitani Keiji are presented both as a consistent school of thought in its own right and as a challenge to the Western philosophical tradition to open itself to the original contribution of Japan.

  • About the Author(s)
    • James W. Heisig, Author

      James W. Heisig is a permanent research fellow at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture in Nagoya, Japan.
  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • Excellent ... firmly situates Nishida in conversation with two other major Kyoto School figures: Tanabe Hajime and Nishitani Keiji
      Religious Studies Review
    • A signal achievement. Heisig weaves biographical narrative, contextual elaboration, philosophical explication, and critical analysis effortlessly (it appears), resulting in a fascinating and absorbing reading experience.
      Buddhist-Christian Studies
    • A very good book ... no small contribution to making the philosophies of nothingness simply compelling
      Philosophy East and West
    • Heisig’s book stands out as one of the most insightful and fascinating studies of the philosophies of the Kyoto school that simultaneously contributes to scholarship on and functions as an introduction to the philosophies of nothingness.
      H-Net Reviews
    • Philosophers of Nothingness has great merit as a broad-based study of the Kyoto school
      Monumenta Nipponica
    • This book will be of interest to anyone involved in the study of continental philosophy, particularly phenomenology, as well as those interested in Zen and Pure Land Buddhism. In addition, the book is an interesting historical chronicle in that it documents the opening of Japan’s borders to the West and the subsequent Japanese academic response to Western ideas.
      Journal of Buddhist Ethics
    • Magisterial
      Japanese Journal of Religious Studies
    • Long-awaited ... certain to remain a reference point for future studies, not only about Japanese intellectual history, but also about the vast and heterogeneous phenomenon of interreligious dialogue, as well as the history of world philosophy
      Buddhist Studies Review
    • A formidable research resource.... After the impressive rigor displayed in the collection of essays he published with John C. Maraldo in 1994, under the title Rude Awakenings: Zen, the Kyoto School, & the Question of Nationalism, Heisig has now presented Japan studies with his most compelling achievement to date. He has won new glory for the discipline. We are in his debt.
      Japan Times
    • This remarkable book discusses the Kyoto School of philosophy, originating in the works of Nishida Kitaro, his principal diciple Tanabe Hajime, and the exceptionally gifted Nishitani Keiji, perhaps the most outstanding of these thinkers.
      M.F. Nefsky, University of Lethbridge, CHOICE
    • In Heisig the Kyoto philosophers appear to have found a commentator who sufficiently approaches their own intellectual stature to re-live their own adventures of ideas.
      Jan Van Bragt, Professor Emeritus, Nanzan University
    • This is a book I have long waited for—lucidly written, insightful, deeply informed. Not only those already interested in Japanese philosophy should read it, but anyone who values the original contributions of contemporary world-class philosophers.
      John Maraldo, University of North Florida
    • Supersedes in nearly every respect every other critical study of the Kyoto School. Heisig writes with exemplary clarity about topics that have traditionally reveled in obscurity. An extraordinary accomplishment.
      Thomas Kasulis, Ohio State University
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