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Journal of Japanese Philosophy

Volume 4, 2016
Special Issue on Karatani Kōjin

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Displaying: 1-8 of 8 documents

1. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
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2. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Kōjin Karatani, Cheung Ching-yuen Two Types of Mobility
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Mobility is the key to overcoming the capital-nation-state. It can be divided into two types: the mobility of pastoral nomads and original hunter-gatherers. It is impossible for us to find a society of nomadic hunter-gatherers in today’s world, but we can have a thought experiment by observing existing wandering band societies. Yanagita Kunio is a thinker in Japan who drew attention to nomads. He has examined various types of nomads since his earlier years but is ridiculed for insisting on the existence of mountain nomads. Nonetheless, he has never given up on the reality of mountain nomads. Even though he later focuses on farmers with fixed settlements, or the common people, he still continues his search for the possibility of the existence of mountain nomads. Eventually, he came to look for traces of mountain nomads in indigenous beliefs. These indigenous beliefs were not limited to the Japanese.
3. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Toshiaki Kobayashi, John W. M. Krummel The Shifting Other in Karatani Kōjin’s Philosophy
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In this article Kobayashi Toshiaki discusses the importance in all periods of Karatani’s oeuvre of the notion of an “exterior” that necessarily falls beyond the bounds of a system, together with the notion of “singularity” as that which cannot be contained within a “universal.” The existential dread vis-à-vis the uncanny other that Karatani in his early works of literary criticism had initially found to be the underlying tone in Sōseki’s works remained with Karatani himself throughout his career and is what had drawn him closer to philosophy. This sense of the “exterior” to—or other than—the normality of consciousness and the meaningfulness of the world is then extended and applied as the “exterior to systems” in his analyses of logical, mathematical, and linguistic systems, in his reading of Marx’s discussion of capitalist economics, and most recently in his analysis of commodity exchange between communities.
4. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Joel Wainwright The Spatial Structure of World History
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This article examines Karatani’s 2014 book, The Structure of World History, aiming to clarify its sweeping philosophical argument in one respect. Among the many ways that we can appreciate Structure is to read it as the elaboration of a profoundly spatial interpretation of our world’s history. In making this claim I am not suggesting that Karatani simply emphasizes space over time, which is not so. Rather, I contend that many of the book’s achievements are best grasped by reading the book as a work of geography. To be sure, geography, as typically understood by academic geographers, is largely absent from Structure: there are no maps and the word “geography” is only used once. Moreover, Karatani never claims to have found the spatial structure of history. Rather, my claim is that the analysis of world history in Structure is acutely spatially sensitive—particularly with regard to the repetition of sociospatial forms through modes of exchange (which effectively comprise the “structure” of the book’s title)—and that this sensitivity grounds Karatani’s radical reinterpretation of Marxism. Structure thereby provides a spatially informed theory of the historical processes that have made this world as such, one that refuses the telos of capital-nation-state. The result is a revolutionary, geographical philosophy of world history.
5. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Tadao Uemura The Documents of a Great Defeat: Karatani Kōjin Immediately Prior to His “Turn”
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At times in the world of thought, a moment comes that compels us to try a fatal jump. The “turn” that Karatani Kōjin attempted in his Investigations I (1986) may be one such case. It is accomplished in the way of “transcendence through the transversal to the outside” in his Transcritique: Kant and Marx (2001). I want to pay, however, attention rather to the fact that, previous to his “turn,” Karatani aimed at exactly the radicalization of introspection during the period from “Introspection and Retrospection” (1980) to “Language, Number, and Money” (1983). It is true that Karatani’s analysis is driven to the wall as it goes, and it is suddenly interrupted halfway. But this does not mean that all Karatani’s efforts of the radicalization of introspection were in vain. As Asada Akira says, we recognize that “an event that is worthy to be called authentically thinking was experienced once at least in our days.”
6. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Kanishka Goonewardena Theory and Politics in Karatani Kōjin’s The Structure of World History
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First, this article seeks to demonstrate why Karatani Kōjin’s The Structure of World History offers a unique and pioneering contribution to Marxist theory in particular and radical thought more generally. In so doing, it examines Karatani’s key conceptual innovations that enable to him to open up a novel perspective on world history and propose a revolutionary political program—one drawing from Kantian anarchism as much as Marxian communism. Particular attention is paid to the central concept that Karatani deploys in this work—exchange or intercourse, which is derived from Marx’s use of the term Verkehr—in order to examine critically the formidable case he makes for replacing the classical Marxist concept of the “mode of production” with the “mode of exchange.” The article argues that Karatani’s novelty and attraction lies in his production of a new concept of history by means of a new concept of social totality, which invites him to be read alongside other leading thinkers in the orbit of Marxism such as Hegel, Althusser, Braudel, and Lefebvre. In conclusion, the article highlights an illuminating ambiguity in Karatani’s conception of exchange, arguing that it is in the light of this that his political conclusions are most productively studied.
7. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Rika Dunlap Hope without the Future: Zen Buddhist Hope in Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō
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In this article, I examine Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō to reconsider the notion of hope, many discourses of which are characteristically future oriented. Although there is an overwhelming suspicion that hope is incompatible with Buddhism due to its forward-looking nature, I argue that Dōgen’s Buddhist soteriology can establish a present-focused conception of hope that can challenge the dominant discourses of hope. In this comparative analysis, I first examine the conditions for hope and show that most theories regard hope as teleological and future oriented. As Dōgen rejects a linear conception of time, a future-oriented hope collapses in Dōgen’s soteriology. Nevertheless, I argue that Dōgen’s theory of temporality can ascertain a new theory of hope grounded in the interconnectedness of all moments, a present-oriented conception of hope based on the radical teleology established within the moment of the absolute now (nikon). Through an analysis of Dōgen’s soteriology from the perspective of hope, it becomes evident that Dōgen’s theory of temporality creates a space for karmic causality while also emphasizing the non-obstruction between practice and enlightenment. Hence, the notion of hope presents a way in which we can reconcile the apparent contradictions between the twelve-fascicle Shōbōgenzō that emphasizes the former and the seventy-five-fascicle version that advocates the latter. Although hope is not central to Buddhist soteriology, this article shows that it is beneficial to analyze Buddhist teachings from the perspective of hope, for not only does it offer a new insight to the growing philosophical discourses on hope, but it also presents a way in which we can reconcile the contradictions within Dōgen’s various writings.
8. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Ralf Müller Conference Report: Japanese Philosophy in a New Key
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