World Philosophies lecture series

Speaker: Hans Peter Liederbach (Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan)

Title: Why Asian Philosophy Mattered to Heidegger

Abstract: Matters of Recognition, Matters of Transformation: Some Reflections on the Persistence of Heidegger’s Philosophy in Japan.

A lot has been written on “Heidegger and Asian Philosophy.” In this paper, I will neither recap the relevant literature, nor is it my intention to delve into the effective history of Heidegger in Asia. Instead, I shall begin with Heidegger’s own view. That is, I will ask why, for him at a certain point in his career, Asian philosophy did matter. I will then offer a discussion on how Heidegger’s view has been appropriated recently by scholars in the field of Japanese philosophy. As the title of my talk suggests, two things are at stake here: first, the recognition of Japanese philosophy as philosophy proper, and second, the transformation of philosophy as such. I argue that, without Heidegger, these demands for recognition and transformation cannot be sufficiently understood; Heidegger also helps to address several problems related to these demands. For one thing, Heidegger’s trenching critique of the philosophical tradition of the West opened the path for relativizing this very tradition. It is, therefore, understandable that the demands for recognition refer to Heidegger. For another, Heidegger’s critique rests on the insight into the essential historical character or philosophy. It is, therefore, surprising to see how in recent metaphilosophical discussions, aiming to bring about “the other beginning” and thus contribute to the above-mentioned transformation, a pre- Heideggerian (even pre-Hegelian) notion of philosophy is espoused. The return to an essentially a-historical notion of philosophy causes several problems for how the two claims are to be understood in their interrelatedness.

Hans Peter Liederbach received his Dr. phil. in philosophy from Eberhard-Karls University Tübingen, Germany. He is a Professor of Philosophy and German at Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya, Japan. He has done research on the effective history of Western philosophy in modern Japan (Watsuji, Kuki, Nishitani, Heidegger, and Hegel). Currently he is interested in how the philosophical discourse of modernity has been received by Japanese philosophers and how this reception shapes our understanding of Japanese philosophy and philosophy in general. He is the author of Martin Heidegger im Denken Watsuji Tetsurōs: Ein japanischer Beitrag zur Philosophie der Lebenswelt. München: Iudicium, 2001, the co-author of Haidegā “Tetsugaku e no kiyo” kaidoku. Tokyo: Heibonsha 2006, various articles, and translations. Recently, he edited Philosophie im gegenwärtigen Japan. München: Iudicium, 2017. His research interests include Hermeneutical philosophy; Relevance of German Idealism for Japanese philosophy; and Modernity as a philosophical problem.

Further information

The purpose of this lecture series is to support scholars in the field of non-western philosophies, to create an environment in which world philosophies specialists can foster their joint research projects, and to transmit the research output of University of Edinburgh scholars worldwide. We believe that this lecture series will also contribute to the process of decolonising the philosophy program at the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.


Takeshi Morisato

Mar 08 2023 -

World Philosophies lecture series

2023-03-08: Why Asian Philosophy Mattered to Heidegger

Room G.06, 50 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LH