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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the aesthetics and ethics of Kuki Shūzō (1888–1941), a poet and philosophy professor at Kyoto University. It explains Kuki’s unique phenomenological approach to philosophical analysis. It also describes Kuki’s portrayal of the aesthetic sensibility of the “Floating World” as captured by the concept of iki (いき), the aesthetic sensibility of the geisha (芸者) and patrons of the pleasure quarters of Tokyo at the end of the eighteenth century. Finally, it addresses what Kuki thought about “fate”—a concept central to the philosophy of Buddhism and bushidō (武士道; the way of the samurai)—and its related concepts of chance, necessity, possibility, and impossibility. The focus of the text is on an exposition of the links between Kuki’s work on aesthetics and chance and on the ethics he articulates through his studies.

Keywords: aesthetics, phenomenology, existentialism, geisha, fate, chance, contingency, Kuki Shūzō, Buddhism, bushidō

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