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ABSTRACT. This essay compares Nietzsche’s philosophy with Zen Buddhist thought. It is argued that despite the number of dualisms that can be found in both – for example, master and slave morality, life-denying and life-affirming for Nietzsche, and englightenment and attachment for Buddhism – these dualisms are to be understood as themselves conditioned by a reality that is irreducible to dualistic modes of thought. This is what is meant by non-dual thinking, and to situate this thinking relative to both Nietzsche and Zen Buddhism we will discuss the importance of artistic practice. Artistic practice, and especially music, provides for Nietzsche an example of non-dual thinking that offers a means to develop a non-Kantian understanding of thought that does not reduce it to being founded upon the *identity* of dualistic terms (or categories of the understanding for Kant). By finding a similar process at work within the tradition of Zen Buddhist thought this essay is able to provide an important basis for comparing and developing the implications of Buddhist thought in a manner that is consonant with Nietzsche’s fundamental concerns. pp. 19–34

Keywords: Nietzsche, Zen Buddhism, dualism, Kant, thought, philosophy

 

JEFFREY BELL
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Southeastern Louisiana University

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