Journal of Social and Political


ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)

ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)

Published: 25 June 2019

Society and Individual in the Early Nishida Philosophy

Taizo Yokoyama

St.Andrew University, Japan

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Pages: 429-454

Keywords: Nishida Kitaro, Japanese Philosophy, Kyoto-School, Nishida Philosophy


This study aims on clarifying a relational structure of society and individual in the philosophy of Kitaro Nishida, especially focusing on his early work titled “Society and Individual” (first published in 1922). In Taisho era, when Japan was under crisis of human survivability challenged by political and economic disturbances after the World War, natural disasters and prevailing poverty in transitional democratization and capitalisation, ‘society' became one of the focal topic among scholars. On the other hand, the past criticisms stirred against Nishida before and after the World War II have found a main problem of Nishida philosophy in a scarcity of "process" description between individuality and absolute nothingness in his absolute dialectical logic. This exploration investigates the notion of ‘society' in the early Nishida's philosophy, which depicts society and individual as a fractal structure, accepting plurality of subjects and constant confliction among meanings and wills. Through demarcating the sense of ‘society,' the author attempts to spot a light on the misunderstandings in the past criticisms against Nishida and on his unique perspective of society and individual in the modernizing period of Japan.


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