In Merleau-Ponty and Nishida, Adam Loughnane initiates a fascinating new dialogue between two of the twentieth century’s most important phenomenologists of the Eastern and Western philosophical worlds. Throughout the book, the reader is guided among the intricacies and innovations of Merleau-Ponty’s and Nishida’s ontological approaches to artistic expression with a focused look at a rarely explored connection between faith and negation in their philosophies. Exploring the intertwining of these concepts in their broader ontologies invokes a reappraisal of the ambiguous status of religion and art in the writings of both thinkers. Measuring these ambiguities, the ontologies of Flesh and Basho are read in-depth alongside great artworks and the motor-perceptual practices of seminal landscape artists such as Cézanne, Sesshū, Taiga, and Hasegawa, as well as other major figures of European, Chinese, and Japanese art history. Loughnane studies these artists’ bodily practices, focusing on the intimate relations realized with the landscapes they paint, and illuminating a valence of their expressive disciplines as a motor-perceptual form of faith. Merleau-Ponty and Nishida is an exciting intercultural reading, expanding two philosophers’ projects toward new horizons of research, revealing incitements in their writings that challenge unambiguous distinctions between art, philosophy, faith, and ultimately philosophy East and West.
“Loughnane illuminates the ambiguous, chiasmatic, and dynamic relationality between the body and the world, providing concrete examples from art history East and West. He not only skillfully explains Nishida’s and Merleau-Ponty’s ontological notions, but also puts their philosophy to the test of art works, proving that their thinking reveals an important truth of art.” — Takeshi Kimoto, Chukyo University
Adam Loughnane is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at University College Cork, Ireland.