Heidegger, Rorty, and the Eastern Thinkers

A Hermeneutics of Cross-Cultural Understanding

By Wei Zhang

Subjects: Asian Studies
Series: SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Paperback : 9780791467527, 138 pages, June 2007
Hardcover : 9780791467510, 138 pages, March 2006

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Table of contents

Part I. The Recurring East-West Hermeneutic Riddle
Part II. Richard Rorty’s Correspondence with a Comparative Philosopher
1. The Question of Legitimacy of Comparative Philosophy

2. Philosophy and Cultural Otherness
Part III. Martin Heidegger’s Dialogue with a Japanese Visitor

3. On the Way to a “Common” Language

4. On the Way to a Cross-Cultural Hermeneutics
Part IV. A Conceptual Dialogue with Heidegger’s Text on Hermeneutics

5. Heidegger’s Ontological Hermeneutics as a Worldview and World Encounter

Explores the cross-cultural endeavors of Rorty and Heidegger, particularly how this work addresses the possibilities of comparative philosophy itself.


Wei Zhang joins the ongoing hermeneutic quest for understanding and appropriating the East-West encounter and cross-cultural engagement by exploring Martin Heidegger's and Richard Rorty's cross-cultural encounters with Eastern thinkers. Zhang begins by examining Rorty's correspondence with Indian philosopher Anindita N. Balslev, outlining their debate about the discipline of comparative philosophy and curriculum reform, as well as the nature or origin of philosophy itself. She then focuses on the dialogue between Heidegger and a Japanese professor concerning the nature of human language and discusses whether Heidegger's view of language allows for a true understanding between East and West or whether it admits only misunderstanding and prejudice are possible. Finally, the author presents a conceptual dialogue with Heidegger's primary text on hermeneutics and phenomenology, Ontology—The Hermeneutics of Facticity. Utilizing the dialogues and correspondence between Heidegger, Rorty, and the Eastern thinkers as textual examples, Zhang deconstructs and recovers layers of misconceptions of the various interpretations of the East-West encounter.

Wei Zhang is Assistant Professor of Asian Religions at the University of South Florida.