Deleuze and the Kyoto School II



  • Jay HETRICK University of Sharjah, College of Fine Arts and Design, United Arab Emirates



Gilles Deleuze, Kyoto School, ethics, aesthetics, comparative philosophy


The aim of this paper is to bring Gilles Deleuze and the Kyoto School into an imaginary conversation around the idea of philosophy as a way of life, or what I call ethico-aesthetics. I first show how ethico-aesthetics in the Kyoto School modernizes the traditional notion of geidō, or ways of art, through the language of continental philosophy. Even though the discourse they construct in this respect remains less rigorous than that of the other domains of philosophy with which they engage, the ethico-aesthetic concepts of Nishida Kitarō, Nishitani Keiji, and Ōhashi Ryōsuke provide a starting point from which we might begin to piece together Deleuze’s seemingly random, but persistent and ultimately significant references to East Asian art and philosophy. I argue that Deleuze’s references to the Zen sage and poet-painter—in addition to his uses of the Stoics, Spinoza, and Nietzsche—are necessary to fully understand the immanent goal of his ethico-aesthetics. I conclude by demonstrating that, although there is no evidence that Deleuze was familiar with the Kyoto School, he unwittingly offers more complete and contemporary solutions to the ethico-aesthetic issues presented by some of its key thinkers.


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10. 01. 2023

How to Cite

Hetrick, Jay. 2023. “Deleuze and the Kyoto School II: Ethico-Aesthetics”. Asian Studies 11 (1): 139-80.

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