Philosophy as Metanoetics

Tanabe Hajime

Nagoya: Chisokudō Publications, 2016 (first published, 1982).

Studies in Japanese Philosophy 3

Written in the closing months of World War II, Philosophy as Metanoetics seeks to respond to the failure of Japan’s philosophical tradition to face up to the political and cultural realities that had landed the country in the war. It calls for nothing less than a complete and radical rethinking of the philosophical task itself. To perform this “absolute critique” of philosophy, while at the same time protecting it from the specter of nihilism, the author embraces what he calls metanoetics: a letting-go of the self’s own power so that it can be transformed by the power of absolute nothingness.

This is a powerful, original work, showing vast erudition in all areas of both Eastern and Western thought.

The translation is itself a work of art; it flows in such clear, smooth and flawless English, and its content is so elegantly articulated and so intelligible, that it makes one quite forget that this is a translation from a vastly different language and style of thinking.

Langdon Gilkey

This book shows Tanabe’s superior philosophical originality…. It is high time Tanabe’s thought is introduced to the West.

Joseph Kitagawa

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