"Zen and consciousness – On Nishida’s concept of consciousness as “place” " lecture by Enrico Fongaro (Nanzan): 26/05/2022 University of Lisbon

Francesco Campagnola's picture

Your network editor has reposted this from H-Announce. The byline reflects the original authorship.

May 26, 2022
Subject Fields: 
East Asian History / Studies, Humanities, Japanese History / Studies, Philosophy, Religious Studies and Theology

Dear colleagues and friends,

apologies for cross-posting. The HPhil group, Centre of Philosophy, University of Lisbon, is pleased to invite you to the May 26th's lecture of its weekly series. Our discussion will concern Japanese philosophy, namely the issues of consciousness and place in Nishida Kitarō. Our guest lecturer is Prof. Enrico Fongaro of the Nanzan Insitute for Religion and Culture.

This is a hybrid event, which will take place at the Centre of Philosophy (Faculty of Letters and Philosophy, University of Lisbon, Alameda da Universidade), as well as online over Zoom. All of you who are interested can join us in person or at the following link: https://zoom.us/j/93430248285?pwd=MzFjMzFFejgyUGd4anJNT3IzemNnQT09


Date and time: Thursday 26/05/2022, 14:00~15:30 (Lisbon time, same as UTC/GMT)


More information hereunder:


Zen and consciousness – On Nishida’s concept of consciousness as “place”


Focusing mainly on two texts, Place (1926) and The Unsolved Issue of Consciousness (1926), I will try to outline the concept of consciousness delineated by the Japanese philosopher Kitarō Nishida (1870-1945) in the middle period of his philosophical production. Being the result of the encounter between the tradition of Eastern thought, in particular Zen Buddhism, and Western philosophy, Nishida's philosophy is known for its intercultural potential. From the very beginning Nishida sets his thinking on the basis of consciousness, in this sense following modern thought on the one hand and Mahayana conscientialism on the other. What we call "reality" are for Nishida phenomena of consciousness, but this reality manifests itself first of all in an immediate adual experience of reality (in the subjective and objective sense of the genitive) on which Nishida bases all his philosophical thought. In his first works, between Bergson and Kant, Husserl and the neo-Kantians, Nishida tries to interpret consciousness as “will”, which leads him to the problem of “intuition” as the privileged moment of the self-manifestation of reality as it is. If on the one hand Nishida interprets the immediate adual experience of reality as it is as an "intuition", on the other hand he tries to conceive consciousness essentially as "will", in line with the modern metaphysics of will (Heidegger ) to whose conceptuality Nishida constantly refers. On the one side, consciousness must essentially be will; on the other side, the most immediate and true experience of reality as it is, which for Nishida coincides with an artistic or rather religious intuition (the Buddhist awakening), is not a question of will, but of intuition.In the middle phase of his thought, with the creation of the concept of "place" (場所, basho), Nishida tries to overcome the aporias that characterized the first phase of his thought. In my speech I will try to explain what the Nishidian attempt to conceive consciousness as a “place” consists in, and how this attempt is connected to the Zen Buddhist background vision that animates Nishida's thought.


Reference texts: 

K. Nishida, ‘Place’, in: K. Nishida, Place and Dialectic – Two Essays by Nishida Kitarō, translated by John W.M. Krummel and Shigenori Nagatomo, Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 49-102.

K. Nishida, The Unsolved Issue of Consciousness, translated by John W.M. Krummel, Philosophy East and West 62-2 (Apr. 2012). 


Enrico Fongaro is Senior Research Fellow at Nanzan University Institute for Religion and Culture. He is working mainly on Kitarō Nishida. He is in charge for the Italian translation of Nishida’s Complete Works.


Contact Info: 

Francesco Campagnola

Principal Investigator

University of Lisbon, Centre of Philosophy

Alameda da Universidade, 1600-214 Lisboa, PORTUGAL