COMP 337
Zen and Philosophy: The Kyoto School and its Legacy in Japanese Thought Spring 2015
Division I
Cross-listed COMP 337 / ASIA 337 / REL 337 / ASST 337
This is not the current course catalog

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Popularly regarded as the most important philosophical movement in modern Japanese history, the Kyoto School creatively marshaled the resources of Buddhism to address the impasses of Western philosophy to startling effect. Although the members of the Kyoto School were not all of one mind, their shared aims were ambitious: to bridge the dualism between subject and object, to overcome nihilism, to explore the implications of absolute nothingness, and to surmount what they saw as the chasm between Japanese and European thought. After providing some brief background in Japanese Buddhism, we will read the writings of the core thinkers of the Kyoto School: Nishida Kitaro, Tanabe Hajime, Nishitani Keiji, and some of their later protégés. Thematically, we will explore issues in ethics, epistemology, phenomenology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion; and demonstrate the continued relevance of their insights in these areas. Finally, we will reflect on the group’s engagement with Japanese nationalism. All readings will be in translation.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 3773
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: regular participation and attendance, regular short writing assignments, 10- to 15-page final paper
Prerequisites: none, but previous coursework in Religion, Comparative Literature, Political theory, and/or Philosophy is strongly recommended
Enrollment Preferences: Religion, Asian Studies, and Comparative Literature majors
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 337 Division II ASIA 337 Division II REL 337 Division II ASST 337 Division II

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