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Infinity or Nothingness? An Encounter between Nishida Kitarō and Emmanuel Levinas

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This paper attempts to stage an encounter between the Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitarō and Emmanuel Levinas, one of the leading figures of Continental philosophy. Nishida's concept of Absolute Nothingness and Levinas' pivotal thinking on Infinity draw them close in the endeavour to overcome the ontological presuppositions still dominant in much contemporary philosophical debate. In tracing the new pathways these philosophers opened up in their search for an ultimate ground to reality, we come to appreciate better the implications their philosophies have for our understanding of the self, the world, and the other. The paper concludes with a proposal for a dialogue between Nishida and Levinas, suggesting how the notion of Infinity might restore the ethical dimension to the all-encompassing idea of Absolute Nothingness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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