Community of No-Self: The Ethical-Existential Structure of Community in Watsuji Tetsurō and Jean-Luc Nancy

In Applied Ethics: Theories, Methods and Cases. Center for Applied Ethics and Philosophy. pp. 48-61 (2012)
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Abstract
This paper is an analysis of one theoretical facet of the problem of Buddhist participation in closed nationalist discourses: the essential relationship between the dislocation of subjectivity (or the emptying of ego) and the formation of communities (such as a nation-state or a Volk). Through this, I hope to explore the effects disciplines of subjectivity (including Buddhism) might have on socio-political formations (such as closed nationalism or imperialism). In order to do so, I will compare two key works in which the existential structure of ethical community is examined: Watsuji Tetsurō's Ethics (Rinrigaku jōkan 倫理学 上巻 1937) and Jean-Luc Nancy's The Inoperative Community (La Communauté désœuvrée 1983). In the first section, after briefly introducing the two thinkers, I will examine their views on the basic structure of the individual and community and how it leads to a sense of ethics. In the second section, I will delve into the essential differences between Watsuji and Nancy, beginning with their differing responses to Heidegger's notion of being-toward-death. I will then proceed to a critical re-reading of Watsuji's ethics possible from Nancy's thought. I will end by connecting the results of this comparative study to the problem of Buddhist involvement in immanent nationalism, in hopes of shedding light on one key theoretical aspect of this multi-faceted problem.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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