The Kyoto School and the Issue of “Overcoming Modernity”
The term “Kyoto School” appears to possess a kind of ambivalent meaning. In an affirmative or positive sense it is the appellation of perhaps the only school of philosophy that can be said to be representative of modern Japan, the group of philosophers that has attracted attention in Europe and America since the war as the Kyoto school or Kyoto Schule. Briefly stated, it is an attempt to express an Eastern (or Japanese) way of thinking and seeing things based on the Buddhist philosophical tradition through the use of the terms, concepts and logical framework of Western philosophy. And as an antithesis to the Western way of thinking and seeing things, we might add that it occupies an important position in terms of comparative thought. In particular, it presents a completely different way of thinking to that of the Western tradition in regard to the fundamental issues of philosophy, such as reality (the absolute), history (time), the relationship between the universal and the individual, dialectics, and so on. In this sense the philosophy of the Kyoto School possesses an extremely positive significance as the mediator of an encounter between Buddhist thought and Western philosophy, a significance the importance of which is equal to, or perhaps even greater than, the earlier encounter between Greek philosophy and Christianity. And this significance will presumably only increase with time.