Philosophers of Nothingness

An Essay on the Kyoto School

James W. Heisig

Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2001. xii+380 pages.

[Also available as a Kindle eBook]

Philosophers of Nothingness examines the three principal figures of what has come to be known as the “Kyoto school—”—Nishida Kitarō, Tanabe Hajime, and Nishitani Keiji——and shows how this original current of twentieth-century Japanese thought challenges traditional philosophy to break out of its western confines and step into a world forum.

This book may be ordered directly from the University of Hawai’i Press or from the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture (right).

Philosophers of Nothingness supersedes in nearly every respect every other critical study of the Kyoto School.… Heisig writes with exemplary clarity about topics that have traditionally reveled in obscurity.… An extraordinary accomplishment.


Thomas Kasulis, Ohio State University

This is the most authoritative treatment of the philosophies and philosophers of the Kyoto School in a Western language to see the light up until now.… In Heisig the Kyoto philosophers appear to have found a commentator who sufficiently approaches their own intellectual stature to re-live their own adventures of ideas, and who is well enough versed in the history of Western philosophy to place them in the wider picture.

Jan Van Bragt, Professor Emeritus, Nanzan University

This is a book I have long waited for——lucidly written, insightful, deeply informed. Not only those already interested in Japanese philosophy should read it, but anyone who values the original contributions of contemporary world-class philosophers.

John Maraldo, University of North Florida

Heisig has provided us with the intellectual equivalent of one-stop shopping. Philosophers of Nothingness allows the curious reader to take his bearings, quickly and confidently, on the Kyoto School. The result is a formidable research resource.

David Williams, Japan Times

postage included