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How To Do Zen (Chan) With Words? An Approach Of Speech Act Theory

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Chapter Summary

The author thinks that one of the effective and rational approaches to the understanding of the language of Zen in general or koan in particular is an approach based on a theory of speech acts. To explain the question how to do Zen with words, the author thinks a Searlean approach is heuristic and effective. The author does not want to enter into Searle and Grice's debate on whether convention is essential to meaning or illocutionary acts or not, whether what we can mean is a function of or rule-governed by what we are saying. The author agrees with Suzuki that, "there is in Zen nothing to explain, nothing to teach but it is not because there is some kind of transcendental truth or mystical meaning which is inexpressible and cannot be taught.

Keywords: effective and rational approaches; koan; Searle; speech act theory; Suzuki; Zen (Chan)



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