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An Inquiry into the Good

An Inquiry into the Good
An Inquiry into the Good.jpg
Cover of an English translation
AuthorKitaro Nishida
Original titleZen no kenkyū
  • 1911 (in Japanese)
  • 1960 (in English)
Media typePrint

An Inquiry into the Good, also known as A Study of Good, (Japanese: 善の研究, Zen no kenkyū) is a 1911 book by the Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida. The work has been described as a masterpiece.

Influence and reception

Graham Parkes described An Inquiry into the Good as a "masterpiece" in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (2005). He wrote that was made possible by the Japanese interest in western philosophy that began with the Meiji Restoration of 1868. He considered the book "path-breaking" and identified it as Nishida's best-known accomplishment.[1]

Ninian Smart stated in World Philosophies (2008) that An Inquiry into the Good "struck many readers as the first truly creative work by a Japanese that did not merely repeat western ideas, and yet made use of modern thinking and terminology." However, according to Smart, the work was criticized by the philosopher Takahashi Satomi, who found the subjectivism of "pure experience" too psychological.[2]


  1. ^ Parkes 2005, pp. 458, 659.
  2. ^ Smart 2008, pp. 426, 430.