Professor and T. J. Higgins S.J. Chair in Philosophy
Office: HU 050P
Education and Experience
- B.A. – Trinity University (Philosophy), 1989
- M.A. – Vanderbilt University (Philosophy), 1996
- Ph.D. – Vanderbilt University (Philosophy), 2001
- Study of Japanese Language and Culture in Osaka, Japan, 1990–1993
- Graduate Studies and Post-Doctoral Research
at Otani University and Kyoto University, Japan, 1996-2004
- Visiting Scholar at Freiburg University, Germany, 2007-2008
- Visiting Scholar at Kyoto University, Japan, 2011-2012
Areas of Specialization
- Continental Philosophy, with a focus on Heidegger, Phenomenology, and Hermeneutics
- Japanese Philosophy, with a focus on the Kyoto School
- East Asian Thought, with a focus on Zen Buddhism
- Cross-Cultural Philosophy, including hermeneutical and ethical issues
- Comparative Philosophy, especially of Religion
Recent Courses Taught
- PL 201 Foundations of Philosophy: Legacies of the Greeks
- PL 216 Asian Thought: Philosophies of Hinduism and Buddhism
- PL 314 Environmental Ethics
- PL 321 Cross-Cultural Philosophy: Ethics/Politics and Hermeneutics
- PL 336 Comparative Philosophy: East-West Dialogues
- PL 354 Chinese Philosophy
- PL 365 Japanese Philosophy
- PL 385 The Thought of Heidegger
Dr. Davis also leads the Heart of Zen meditation group on campus.
- Sekai no naka no Nihon no tetsugaku [Japanese Philosophy in the World], co-edited with Fujita Masakatsu (Showado, 2005).
- Heidegger and the Will: On the Way to Gelassenheit (Northwestern University Press, 2007).
- Martin Heidegger: Key Concepts, edited (Acumen Publishing, 2010).
- Martin Heidegger, Country Path Conversations, translated (Indiana University Press, 2010).
- Japanese and Continental Philosophy: Conversations with the Kyoto School, co-edited with Brian Schroeder and Jason M. Wirth (Indiana University Press, 2011).
- Engaging Dōgen’s Zen: The Philosophy of Practice as Awakening, co-edited with Tetsuzen Jason M. Wirth and Shūdō Brian Schroeder (Wisdom Publications, 2017).
- Nisoku-hoko no tetsugakusha-tachi [Bipedal Philosophers], co-authored with Nakajima Takahiro (University of Tokyo, 2020)
- The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Philosophy, edited (Oxford University Press, 2020)
- Real Zen for Real Life (Great Courses, 2020)
- “The Kyoto School,” in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- “Zen after Zarathustra: The Problem of the Will in the Confrontation between Nietzsche and Buddhism,” in Journal of Nietzsche Studies 28 (2004): 89–138.
- “The Presencing of Truth: Dogen’s Genjokoan,” in Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings, ed. Jay Garfield and William Edelglass (Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 251–259.
- “Natural Freedom: Human/Nature Non-Dualism in Japanese Thought,” in The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy, ed. Jay Garfield (Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 334–47.
- “Forms of Emptiness in Zen,” in A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy, ed. Steven Emmanuel (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 190-213
- “Nishitani Keiji no Zen-tetsugaku” [Nishitani Keiji’s Philosophy of Zen], in Zen to Kyoto-tetsugaku [Zen and Kyoto Philosophy], edited by Ueda Shizuteru (Kyoto: Tōeisha, 2006), pp. 228–49.
- “Nijū naru ‘zettai no ta e no naizai-teki chōetsu: Nishida no shūkyō-tetsugaku ni okeru tasharon” [Twofold ‘Immanent Transcendence to the Absolute Other’: Alterity in Nishida’s Philosophy of Religion], in Nihontetsugakushi Kenkyū (Studies in Japanese Philosophy) 9 (2012): 102–34.
- “Heidegger on the Way from Onto-Historical Ethnocentrism to East-West Dialogue,” in Gatherings: The Heidegger Circle Annual 6 (2016): 130–156.
More information on Dr. Davis's work and downloadable versions of many of his articles can be found here: https://loyola.academia.edu/BretDavis
A videotaped interview with Dr. Davis on his work in Japanese, Continental and cross-cultural philosophy can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/_mqd4t6JAzA