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The Kyoto School

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-G105-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2023
Retrieved July 17, 2024, from

Article Summary

The Kyoto School is a group of modern Japanese philosophers whose original thinking derives from bringing East Asian traditions – especially Zen and Pure Land Buddhism – into critical and creative dialogue with Western philosophy and religion. All the philosophers associated with the Kyoto School have been significantly influenced by its founder, Nishida Kitarō. Most of the core members of the School have taught at Kyoto University. They share – and sometimes debate – a set of core philosophical ideas, chief among them ‘absolute nothingness’. With the notable exception of Tanabe Hajime, many of the School’s philosophers, including Nishitani Keiji and Ueda Shizuteru, have also appropriated in their own manners Nishida’s philosophy of ‘the place of absolute nothingness’. Other shared endeavours include attempts to articulate the interpersonal and religious significance of self-negation, and attempts to develop a thoroughly dialectical logic that is capable of accounting for the contradictions as well as interrelations inherent in reality. Finally, Kyoto School philosophers have persistently criticised political and cultural as well as philosophical Eurocentrism. The content of their controversial wartime political writings continues to be discussed and debated, as do their lasting contributions to cross-cultural philosophy.

Citing this article:
Davis, Bret W.. The Kyoto School, 2023, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-G105-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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