• Chiasmatic Chorology: Nishida Kitaro's Dialectic of Contradictory Identity

      Nagatomo, Shigenori; Ayoub, Mahmoud; Mohanty, J. N. (Jitendra Nath), 1928- (Temple University. Libraries, 2008)
      In this philosophical work I explicate Nishida Kitaro's dialectics vis-à-vis Mahayana non-dualistic thought and Hegel's dialectical philosophy, and furthermore in terms of a "chiasmatic chorology." Nishida's work makes ample usage of western philosophical concepts, most notably the terminology of Hegelian dialectics. Nishida himself has admitted affinity to Hegel. And yet content-wise the core of Nishida's thinking seem close to Mahayana Buddhism in its line of thought traceable to the Prajñaparamita sutras. The point of my investigation is to clarify in what regard Nishida's dialectic owes allegiance to Hegel and to Mahayana and wherein it diverges from them. Moreover to what extent is Nishida's appropriation of Hegelian terminology adequate in expressing his thought? The work explicates the distinctive aspects of Nishida's thinking in terms of a "chiasmatic chorology" to emphasize the inter-dimensional and placial complexity of the dialectic. In summary two overarching concerns guide the work: 1) The relation of Nishida's dialectic to its forebears -- Mahayana non-dualism and Hegelian dialectics --; and 2) The distinctness of that dialectic as a "chiasmatic chorology." The work concludes that while Nishida, in his attempt to surmount the dualism of Neo-Kantianism, was led to Hegel's dialectic, the core ideas of his dialectic extend beyond the purview of Hegelianism. Contentwise his dialectic is closer in spirit to Mahayana. While Nishida admits to such commensurability with key Mahayana doctrines, his thought nevertheless ought not to be confined to the doctrinal category of "Buddhist thought" both because of its eclectic nature that brings in elements drawn from western and eastern sources, thereby constituting his work as a "world philosophy"; and because of its creative contributions, such as the formulation of basho and its explication in dialectical terms. What cannot be expressed adequately in terms of Hegelian dialectics is the concrete chiasma of what Nishida calls his "absolute dialectic." Moreover its founding upon the choratic nature of basho not only escapes the grasp of Hegel's self-knowing concept but extends beyond previous formulations within Buddhism.

      Swidler, Leonard J.; Nagatomo, Shigenori (Temple University. Libraries, 2010)
      This discussion aims to demonstrate how the project of identifying the nature of humanity is ongoing. The dominant models have their own flaws to contend with, and in the end we are still left uncertain of what constitutes our nature. Of the two views vying for prominence (dualism vs. materialism) neither is indubitable, nevertheless their are faithful proponents on each side. In a debate of belief vs. theory we see these seemingly disparate realms come together in a resignation to faith that their option is an adequate representation of human nature.
    • Mind-Body Dualism and Mental Causation

      Vision, Gerald; Solomon, Miriam; Wolfsdorf, David, 1969-; Aizawa, Kenneth, 1961- (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      The Exclusion Argument for physicalism maintains that since every physical effect has a sufficient physical cause, and cases of causal overdetermination (wherein a single effect has more than one sufficient cause) are rare, it follows that if minds cause physical effects as frequently as they seem to, then minds must themselves be physical in nature. I contend that the Exclusion Argument fails to justify the rejection of interactionist dualism (the view that the mind is non-physical but causes physical effects). In support of this contention, I argue that the multiple realizability of mental properties and the phenomenal and intentional features of mental events give us reason to believe that mental properties and their instances are non-physical. I also maintain (a) that depending on how overdetermination is defined, the thesis that causal overdetermination is rare is either dubious or else consistent with interactionist dualism and the claim that every physical effect has a sufficient physical cause, and (b) that the claim that every physical effect has a sufficient physical cause is not clearly supported by current science. The premises of the Exclusion Argument are therefore too weak to justify the view that minds must be physical in order to cause physical effects as frequently as they seem to.