A Dialogue on the Good and Evil Bivalence in the Study of Ethics: On François Flahault and Nishida Kitarō

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Dennis Stromback


This article seeks to demonstrate how a dialogue between literary theorist and psychoanalyst François Flahault and Kyoto School philosopher Nishida Kitarō can be mutually beneficial in the service of building an account of good and evil that contributes to discourses in ethics. Although Flahault and Nishida share a similar commitment to disrupt the dichotomy between good and evil in the effort to liberate subjectivity, they diverge in terms of how their accounts relate subjectivity to the processes of social history. As this article will discuss, the significance of their divergence, however, elucidates the strengths and limits of their approaches to the victim-victimizer duality that is implied within the problem of good and evil. Such a divergence also points to a potential space of synthesis and mutual enrichment as well: namely, on the side of championing Nishida’s contradictory logic and Flahault’s emphasis on the contextual demands and problems of social history. That is to say, within the dialogical encounter between Flahault and Nishida, as the present article suggests, is the potentiality to develop a universal conception of the common good that is contradictorily linked to the subjective interior where such provides a critical resource for a deeper engagement with the victim-victimizer duality.

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How to Cite
Stromback, D. (2022). A Dialogue on the Good and Evil Bivalence in the Study of Ethics: On François Flahault and Nishida Kitarō. Journal of World Philosophies, 7(1), 29–42. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.iu.edu/iupjournals/index.php/jwp/article/view/5470
Author Biography

Dennis Stromback

Dennis Stromback received his PhD from the Religion Department at Temple University in 2019. He has published in the European Journal of Japanese Philosophy, Philosophy East and West, International Journal of Asian Studies, and several others. His primary research interests include the Kyoto School philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and Latin American philosophy. He is an editorial assistant for the Journal of Japanese Philosophy.