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Logic in Japan

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-G108-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

‘Logic’ became an explicit topic in Japanese philosophy only in the twentieth century. Most effort has been directed to developing a dialectical logic in a Hegelian mode rather than a symbolic system. The Japanese term coined for logic in this sense is ronri (the ‘principles of discourse or argument’). The term ronrigaku (ronri + -ology) is the more common term for formal, symbolic logic. In the twentieth century two Japanese philosophers, Nishida Kitarō(1870–1945) and Tanabe Hajime (1885–1962), developed distinctive dialectical logics that drew on key assumptions from traditional Japanese thought, but followed a Western style of analysis and articulation.

Nishida’s logic of basho (place, topos, field) located the contextual premises of empirical and idealist judgments within a trans-judgmental domain called the ‘acting-intuiting’. He related this to his logic of the predicate, which rejected the Aristotelian priority of the grammatical subject as signifier of substance, instead making the subject the qualifier of the predicate, the signifier of the event. Tanabe criticized Nishida’s system as ahistorical and transcultural. His logic of species gave priority to the specificity of cultural and historical embededness, the middle ground between the universal ought and individual freedom.

Citing this article:
Kasulis, Thomas P.. Logic in Japan, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-G108-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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