A Workshop on Dogen

A Workshop on Dogen

Date and time : March 7, 2018 11:00-18:15

Venue : 京都大学吉田泉殿 Yoshida Izumidono, Kyoto University

Program :

11:00 – 12:00 Yasuo Deguchi (Kyoto) : Self as Anyone
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 14:00 Shigeru Taguchi (Hokkaido) : Selves in Superposition: Husserl, Tanabe, and Dogen
14:00 – 15:00 Naozumi Mitani (Shinshu) : Trailblazing with Dōgen
15:00 – 15:15 Break
15:15 – 16:15 Hayato Saigo (Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology) : Without Problem, No Solution:
Toward category-theoretic elucidation of the logic of Buddha, Nāgārjuna and Dōgen
16:15 – 17:15 Naoya Fujikawa (Tokyo Metropolitan) : Eloquence of Silence
17:15 – 18:15 Takeshi Sakon (Osaka City) : TBA (joint work with Shinya Moriyama)

Abstracts :

Self as Anyone

Yasuo Deguchi (Kyoto University)

In this chapter, I will explore Dōgen’s idea of self by means of contemporary philosophical tools. Through examinations of his ideas in such chapters of Shōbōgenzō as Genjōkōan, Busshō, Uji and others, I explicate Dōgen’s idea of true self as Self as Anyone; i.e., self as trope (instantiated or particularized universal) of impermanence; the most universal character of reality for him. Shortly, myself is nothing but a pure trope of impermanence, that is deprived of any other more or less particular properties such as being human or being man). It doesn’t matter for me how, when and where myself as a trope of impermanence is instantiated or particularized. I can be any instantiation of impermanence: I can be you, a table in front of me, for instance. Thus my true self as a trope is replaceable rather than irreplaceable.

I will also try to show that Dōgen took the position of fundamental eventism, as I call it, according to which the ontologically most fundamental is an event or happening rather than substance or substratum. Also, I will argue, Dōgen’s true self is a peculiar sort of event: a global event, in contrast to local event, as I call them. Local events and global event are my interpretations of Dōgen’s illusionary Uji (錯有時) and (proper) Uji respectively.

Selves in Superposition: Husserl, Tanabe, and Dogen

Shigeru Taguchi (Hokkaido University)

In his later writings, Husserl claimed that we have to take into account a basic dimension of self which he called “primal I” (Ur-Ich). This term is misleading because it might give the wrong impression that there is a fundamental ego as an independent substance behind ordinary, individual egos. However, according to my interpretation, Husserl’s idea of “primal I” refers to an elementary characteristic of our ordinary self, which is difficult to be noticed because of its extreme obviousness. I claim that when I regard me myself as a self (or an ego), this self is not only individual but also, in a sense, universal. Or rather, there is a dimension of self in which self is “neither one nor many.” In a sense, selves are in superposition insofar as every one of them is a self. This basic understanding of the self is contained in our ordinary self-understanding. This idea of self is possibly related to the concept of “species” developed by Hajime Tanabe, a Japanese philosopher of the so-called Kyoto School. Tanabe claims that individuals are made possible by the “species” that precedes the actual separation of multiple individuals. The “species” itself is neither one nor many. I claim that this idea can further be related to Yasuo Deguchi’s interpretation of Dogen’s self. If self is “self as anyone” in its essence, it is not simply individual. Rather, it is individual and universal at the same time. In my paper, I will discuss a fundamental dimension of self (or self-consciousness) by examining these three investigations of the concept of self.

Trailblazing with Dōgen

Naozumi Mitani (Shinshu University)

How would Dōgen locate his philosophical positioning in the contemporary scene, were he to be reborn and learn the present-day philosophy? This paper aims to answer this question by transposing Dōgen’s enigmatic ideas into the familiar vocabulary of present-day philosophers.

To be more specific, the following three rather unfamiliar characterizations will be attributed to Dōgen: 1) Representationalism without mirrors, 2) Non-therapeutic quietism, 3) Non-monistic process ontology.

Evidently, these are trails hitherto untrodden and should sound rather uncanny. However, in my view, this uncanny positioning of Dōgen also functions as a proof that testifies to the great potentiality of his thought. Or so I will argue.

Without Problem, No Solution:
Toward category-theoretic elucidation of the logic of Buddha, Nāgārjuna and Dōgen

Hayato Saigo (Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology)

In this chapter we attempt to elucidate the Buddhism logic from the fundamental viewpoint of category theory, which has been used as an effective method to organize various fields of mathematics including mathematical logic.
Category theory is, in short, “the mathematics of arrows”; its fundamental viewpoint for mathematical theories are “arrows only matters”. For instance, proofs can be considered as a kind of arrows between hypothesis and conclusions and each theory can be considered as a “category” as a system of arrows, not only objects mediated by them. More radically, objects here are nothing but just the mediation between arrows. Here the objects and structure of them are not considered as substances. Structures arise depending on arrows and relations between them. Although this arrow-first-viewpoint seems to be quite trivial, it has drastically changed the mode of modern mathematics and related fields.

This arrow-first-viewpoint, based viewpoint, would be quite understandable by Buddhist philosophers because for them what only matters are “dependent-arising(縁起)”, which naturally symbolized by system of arrows. To formulate this simple idea, however, we have to clarify the meaning of the concept of dependent-arising as arrows.

We claim in this chapter that if we adopt the interpretation of dependent-arising as causality relationship explained in Pali canons, then the logic of Buddha can be naturally formulated from the fundamental category-theoretic view. The causality here means the relationship as “Without Cause, No Effect.”

Interpretation of central notions in Buddhism as the Middle Way, Emptiness, and Bodhisattva from the formulation above leads to the elucidation of the logic of Nāgārjuna and Dōgen. As a result, the saying of the three Buddhism philosopher, although apparently different each other, turn out to be equivalent: “Without Problem, No Solution”.

Eloquence of Silence

Naoya Fujikawa (Tokyo Metropolitan University)

In the Buddhist tradition, the ultimate reality is regarded as ineffable, and Buddhists appreciate silence as an/the appropriate way to deal with it. But, what does silence exactly mean (if it means anything)? In particular, some interpreters claim that silence properly situated in a dialectic discourse has importance which mere silence without any dialectic discourse doesn’t. How does the former, and not the latter, do the job? And what exactly is the job?

In this paper, I try to answer these questions from the viewpoint of contemporary pragmatics. After confirming that silence can pragmatically convey different propositions in different contexts, first we see that silence in a suitable context can be an indirect, implicit way of expressing the proposition that the ultimate reality is ineffable. Secondly, I compare silence with the explicit and direct way of stating the same proposition by using linguistic expressions. Both kinds of practice can convey the proposition that the ultimate reality is ineffable, and thus, be self-defeating and inconsistent (according to Casati and Priest (forthcoming) `Heidegger and Dōgen on the Ineffable’, Dōgen endorses this way of understanding silence and thus accepts the so-called ineffability paradox). But, in addition to this proposition, in discursive contexts, one’s being silent can pragmatically convey another contents, for example, that it is self-defeating and inconsistent as well. In this respect, silence, when it is an implicit statement about the ultimate reality, is a more efficient way to express the predicament concerning the ineffability of the ultimate reality than explicit statements about it. I also discuss how paraconsistency is involved in the pragmatic inferences in question. Finally, I will briefly examine an alternative to this way of understanding silence in discursive contexts. Invoking recent research on expressive meanings that reveals that some linguistic expressions express non-propositional contents, I investigate a possibility that a silence conveys a certain kind of non-propositional content.