Seminar The Kyoto School: Neglected Themes and Hidden Variations ...

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Seminar The Kyoto School: Neglected Themes and Hidden Variations March 9-10, 2007 McGill UniversityKeynote Address Prof. John Maraldo, Professor of philosophy, University of North Florida jmaraldo@unf.edu Neglected and Hidden Contingencies: Kuki Shūzōand the Kyoto School The philosopher Kuki Shūzō(1888 - 1941) is only peripherally associated with the Kyoto School, but there are some surprising meeting points. Best known for his hermeneutics of the aesthetic category iki and his French essays on time, Kuki Shūzō(1888 - 1941) also wrote several works on contingency that show the direct influence of Tanabe's and Nishidas philosophies of absolute nothingness. His dissertation Gūzensei偶然性[Contingency] and his book偶然性の問題[The Problem of Contingency] systematically explain a rather neglected concept in contemporary philosophy with its dominant interest in invariance and natural and social laws. Kuki's connection to the Kyoto School might also be considered rather contingent: upon Nishidas recommendation he happened to teach at Kyoto University from 1929, becoming a full professor there in 1935. But another fortuitous link shows his own originality: the link between contingency and nothingness. Kuki presented the basic form of metaphysical contingency as the possibility of not being, specifically as the variable yet inevitable places where nothingness is manifest in the world. As inevitable in our world, contingency is paradoxically related to its opposite, necessity; and as variable, contingency expresses the utter relativity and interdependence of things. His work offers surprising alternatives to the ways that contingency is discussed in philosophical literature today. It also leads us to the question whether a notion of contingent nothingness can better provide a place for the ethics than other Kyoto School philosophers have done. Some Related Publications Editor (with James Heisig) ofRude Awakening: Zen, the Kyoto School, and the Question of  Nationalism(University of Hawaii, 1996). Nishida Kitarō, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2005 Edition), Edward N.  Zalta (ed.), URL <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2005/entries/nishida-kitaro/>. The War Over the Kyoto School: Review Article.Monumenta Nipponica61:3 (Autumn 2006). 欧米の視点からみた京都学派の由来と行方[The Kyoto School: Who, What, Whence  Wither], in世界の中の日本の哲学[Japanese Philosophy in the World], ed. Masakatsu  Fujita & Bret W. Davis (Kyoto: Shōwadō, 2005), pp. 31-56. PANEL #1: Friday, March 9, 4:00  5:30 An Ethical State: Community, History, and the Body Prof. Bernard Bernier, Département d'Anthropologie, Université de Montréal