The Ordinary as Sublime in CaveLl, Zen, and NiShida: <i>Cavell's Philosophy of Education in East-West Perspective</i>

Steve Odin

in Stanley Cavell and the Education of Grownups

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780823234738
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823240753 | DOI:

Series: American Philosophy

The Ordinary as Sublime in CaveLl, Zen, and NiShida: Cavell's Philosophy of Education in East-West Perspective

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In this chapter Steve Odin sheds light from a different angle on Emersonian moral perfectionism, here with a particular focus on the idea of the ordinary. In Odin's discussion, the ordinary is the home to which we must return, and skepticism is treated implicitly as the object of overcoming in the process of perfection, as in the case of the Great Doubt in Buddhism. Back through tributaries of ordinary language philosophy, American transcendentalism, British romanticism, continental philosophy, and Freud, Odin follows the current of Cavell's writings on the ordinary in order to lay the way for an account of the ordinary as Tao in Sino-Japanese philosophy. Points of contact are found between Cavell and Zen in their response to skepticism, the nihilistic aspects of which are to be overcome by a recovery of the aesthetic, artistic, and poetic value of ordinary life in its beauty and sublimity. The Confucian tradition, deeply influenced by Zen/Chan Buddhism, aims at realizing the unity of Tao with ordinary life through a dynamic educational process, described in terms similar, Odin tries to show, to Emerson's perfectionist image of ever-expanding concentric circles.

Keywords: The ordinary; Zen; Nishida; Scepticism; East-West perspective; Emersonian moral perfectionism

Chapter.  5152 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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