Heidegger and Watsuji on Community

A Philosophical Counterpoint of West and East

Authors

  • Hiroshi ABE Kyoto University, Japan

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2023.11.1.207-217

Keywords:

community, authenticity, Heidegger, Watsuji, Nancy

Abstract

This paper explores the Japanese philosopher Tetsurō Watsuji’s idea of community as an alternative to Heidegger’s thinking on “Volk”. Watsuji was so greatly influenced by Heidegger’s unique way of philosophizing using ordinary German language that he undertook an etymological analysis of the Japanese word for humans, which provided him with the central idea of his ethics, namely that human beings are individual and social at the same time. However, despite this positive response to the German philosopher, Watsuji criticized Heidegger regarding the concept of authenticity. In Watsuji’s Ethics, authenticity is not regarded as a state of isolation but as a kind of communal relationship, which he characterizes as “nonduality between the self and the other”. In his lectures in the 1930s, however, Heidegger further developed the notion of authenticity, reconsidering it as the Volk, or a “space for community” on the basis of which actual community comes forth. According to my interpretation, Watsuji’s idea of nonduality between the self and other, which serves as a primordial place for the existence of any kind of community, can help us to consider our primary coexistence in a manner different from Heidegger’s.

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References

Heidegger, Martin. 1989. “Hölderlins Hymnen ‘Germanien’ und ‘Der Rhein.’” In Gesamtausgabe, edited by Susanne Ziegler, vol. 39. Frankfurt a. M.: Vittorio Klostermann.

———. 1998. “Logik als die Frage nach dem Wesen der Sprache.” In Gesamtausgabe, edited by Günter Seubold, vol. 38. Frankfurt a. M.: Vittorio Klostermann.

———. 2001. Sein und Zeit. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.

———. 2020. “Logik als die Frage nach dem Wesen der Sprache.“ In Gesamtausgabe, edited by Peter Trawny, vol. 38A. Frankfurt a. M.: Vittorio Klostermann.

Nancy, Jean-Luc. 1999. La Communauté Désœuvrée (nouvelle édition revue et augmentée). Paris: Christian Bourgois.

Watsuji, Tetsurō. 1962a. Watsuji Tetsurô Zenshû 和辻哲郎全集 (Collected Works of Tetsurô Watsuji), vol. 8. Edited by Yoshishige Abe et al. Tokyo: Iwanami.

———. 1962b. Watsuji Tetsurô Zenshû 和辻哲郎全集; (Collected Works of Tetsurô Watsuji), vol. 9. Edited by Yoshishige Abe et al. Tokyo: Iwanami.

———. 1962c. Watsuji Tetsurô Zenshû 和辻哲郎全集 (Collected Works of Tetsurô Watsuji), vol. 10. Edited by Yoshishige Abe et al. Tokyo: Iwanami.

———. 1992. Watsuji Tetsurô Zenshû 和辻哲郎全集 (Collected Works of Tetsurô Watsuji), supplement vol. 2. Edited by Yoshishige Abe et al. Tokyo: Iwanami.

———. 1996. Watsuji Tetsuro’s Rinrigaku. Ethics in Japan. Translated by Seisaku Yamamoto, and Robert E. Carter. Albany: SUNY Press.

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Published

10. 01. 2023

How to Cite

Abe, Hiroshi. 2023. “Heidegger and Watsuji on Community: A Philosophical Counterpoint of West and East”. Asian Studies 11 (1): 207-17. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2023.11.1.207-217.

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