Overcoming obstacles in Nishitani's theory of evolutive nihilism

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy

Subject Categories



College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Rolando Gripaldo

Defense Panel Chair

Celestino Gianan

Defense Panel Member

Florentino Timbreza
Gansham Mansukhani
Elenita Garcia
Ferdinand Tablan


In Nishitani's theory of evolutive nihilism, a few existential obstacles appear that may confuse or impede someone's realization of breaking through nihilism. This is a study of the challenges in overcoming obstacles in Nishitani's Theory of Evolutive Nihilism, and how may these challenges be transitioned. The study includes a platonic didactic dialectic process where the researcher asks questions and gives answers, a Kantian-like dialectic process that uses rationality to identify and overcome contradictions, and a Hegelian-like dialectic process that attempts to transition contradictions. In addition, a methodology of standpoints, a perspectival approach is used. The researcher assumes that there is no one God's eye view answer for any question, and that there are valid (albeit perhaps not equal from a functional standpoint) yet different answers based on particular standpoints. The researcher also includes an existential and hermeneutic methodology in that this research requires an experiment with the self and interpretation of evolutive nihilism and other philosophical considerations in this study. Nishitani's theory of evolutive nihilism is a process rich with possibility. However, movement towards a standpoint of sunyata can be difficult. In this study the author identified three existentially determined obstacles in movement from ignorance towards awareness from nihilism, towards sunyata. In each case, a shift in perspective can help transition obstacles. Adoption of the standpoint of how sunyata can overcome nihilism is viewed. Evolutive nihilism in light of a transformation of an ignorant self to an aware self via a pragmatic self have also been viewed. Additionally, Nishitani's theory of evolutive nihilism can be interpreted as a possible reversal of Western hegemony and Eastern hegemony. To avoid this trap, antidualistic elements from neopragmatism, postmodernism, Buddhism and other tools are appropriated as long as one does not cling to them. Although sunyata is slippery, there is still a dynamic premise to make decisions and to engage in a viable social agency through evolutive nihilism.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

125 leaves ; 28 cm.


Nihilism (Philosophy)

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