Diamondsutra's Logic of Not and a Critique of Katz’s Contextualism

Author: Nagatomo, Shigenori
The “logic of not” proposes a holistic way of understanding things, which is contrasted with Aristotelean either-or logic, while “A Critique of Katz’s Contextualism” examines Katz’s contextualist’s position from the point of view of the logic of not. The “logic of not” is a careful philosophical examination of the Diamondsutra's, a Mayahana Buddhist sutra, which has influenced the formation of Zen Buddhism, while “A Critique of Katz’s Contextualism” critically investigates various philosophical issues Steven Katz mounts in order to build his contextualist’s position.


“This monograph is a landmark work. Dr. Nagatomo first exposes and then clearly explains the conflicting presuppositions at the base, core, or heart of Buddhist and Western philosophy. Shigenori Nagatomo is one of the few scholars capable of such an important work because he has dedicated his life to communicating ideological differences between the East and West ... Dr. Nagatomo’s essays masterfully accomplish two important tasks: First, accepting one of the most challenging enterprises in all of Comparative Philosophy, he clearly outlines the rationale behind Buddhist logic, specifically Zen Buddhist logic (as originated in the Diamondsutra's). Second, he produces a paradigmatic example of sound Comparative Philosophy in which he offers the reader a penetrating analysis exposing how unchallenged presuppositions (even unconscious presuppositions) can cause even the best of scholars (in this case Steven T. Katz) to misrepresent major philosophical and religious systems (in this case Buddhism) ... Dr. Nagatomo’s analysis is extremely important, going well beyond the immediate study which causes us to take a second look at Professor Katz’s many influential contributions to the philosophical and theological study of mysticism ...” – (from the Preface) Professor David E. Shaner, Furman University

“In this work, Dr. Nagatomo has produced a very lucid and provocative piece of scholarship. This book attempts to achieve two objectives: making sense of the notoriously difficult statements in the Diamondsutra's, summarized as ‘A is not A, therefore it is A,’ and critiquing Steven Katz’s contextualist approach to mysticism from a Buddhist perspective. Both objectives are accomplished admirably. Dr. Nagatomo also offers some insightful observations on religious conflicts and how the approach to truth recommended in his book may help address such conflicts ... a very ambitious work, with thorough and illuminating analysis.” – Professor Tao Jiang, Rutgers University

“ ... Professor Nagatomo anticipates the outcome of an internal critique being waged today within professional philosophy that takes as its shared target precisely the common sense ontology that has insinuated itself into the analysis of mystical experience by Steven Katz. Indeed, it is the unfortunate branding of profoundly philosophical texts of alternative narratives as ‘mysticism’ that has located these works in our leading bookstores under the unnatural and deprecating category of ‘Eastern Religions.’ Professor Nagatomo insists that the Diamondsutra's is not mysticism – instead, it is an alternative, coherent way of knowing the ordinary that enables us to get on with the business of the day ...” – Professor Roger T. Ames, University of Hawai’i

Table of Contents

Preface by David E. Shaner
The Diamondsutra's Logic of Not
I. Introduction
II. The Goal of the Diamonds?tra
III. The Conceptual Scheme of the Boddhisattva
IV. Affirmation of A
V. A is not A
VI. Perspectival Shift
VII. Therefore It Is A
VIII. Concluding Remarks

A Critique of Katz’s Contextualism
I. Introduction
II. Katz’s Philosophical Background
III. Katz’s Central Thesis and its Characterizations
IV. Katz’s Forms of Consciousness
V. Katz on Causation
VI. Katz’s Denial of the Givens
VII. Katz’s Constructionism: the Intentionality Thesis
VIII. Katz’s Logical-Philosophical Issues
IX. Concluding Remarks
Afterthought; Appendices; Bibliography; Index