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Figures du néant et de la négation entre Orient et Occident (Book Review)

As its title indicates, Figures du néant et de la négation entre Orient et Occident, explores the concepts of nothing(ness) and/or negation across the boundaries of Eastern and Western thought, a kind of philosophie sans frontières. Heidegger and to a lesser degree Husserl provide the philosophical spine to the book - Françoise Dastur writes as well on them as anyone in the world today - because Heidegger famously deconstructed the Western ontological tradition from Plato and Aristotle onwards as focusing on beings (the things themselves) rather than the state of being per se. This means there was a tendency to see nothing as the negation of a pre-existing something rather than the nothing(ness) out of which the being of that something emerged. Heidegger spent his whole career evolving more and more subtle quasi-mystical but never irrational or illogical ways of thinking about the relationship between being and nothing(ness). What is especially important about him is that he does not simply debunk the Western philosophic tradition: he gives it a specific but legitimate character, which gives the space to non-Western philosophies to be equally specific in their way.

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