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Ethics and Politics in the Early Nishida: Reconsidering "Zen no kenkyū"

Christopher S. Jones
Philosophy East and West
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Oct., 2003), pp. 514-536
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1399981
Page Count: 23
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Ethics and Politics in the Early Nishida: Reconsidering "Zen no kenkyū"
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Abstract

The early Nishida has conventionally been seen as an apolitical thinker, concerned primarily with religious philosophy. In itself this constitutes a political reading of Nishida's work, since it represents an attempt to distance (and thus "save") his wider philosophy from his dubious political practice during the 1930s and 1940s. However, a fresh reading of Nishida's debut, "Zen no kenkyū" (An inquiry into the good), reveals a distinctive political agenda and a sophisticated philosophy of political ethics. Counterintuitively, this essay suggests that Nishida's politics, at least in his "early period," provides a sound philosophical basis for a critique of imperialism and ultranationalism.

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