A bit of a mystery what Nishida means to convey by characterizing the phenomena he is describing (which I believe is self-reflection) as an "enveloping," even if it were metaphorical, given his talk of "intinite series" etc.. I will probably gain some insight to this if I sit on it, or gain it from later reading and looking at past notes. If I could read the original Japanese, I wonder if the characterization would make more immediate sense.
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I believe this to be what Nishida is approximately conveying by his analogy--approximately because the process of analogy already presupposes difference. Taking into account other context gone over, the ubiquity of experience, and collapse of subject/object, of course requires Nishida to go beyond this analogy. In some sense, this foreshadows his recourse to speaking of 'Absolute Nothingness.'
If knowing is like physical force as understood by Nishida, then knowing is something which brings determining difference into ideas and thereby constitute them 'consciously' or experientially. More accurately, then, space is already an aspect of things, but considered abstractly can be treated as something independent 'in' which things are. By analogy, consciousness/experience is already an aspect of things, but considered abstractly can be treated as something independent 'in' which things are
What also follows is that truth v. falsehood (epistemic values) arise *after* the subject/object distinction has arisen. This would suggest that an investigation of the metaphysical foundations of logic must begin on some sort of ground that makes the "context" of subject v. object intelligible. My best interpretation of Nishida so far.
The "object" of judgment does involve constitution by a subject, but this does not mean that it is the subject which accounts for the formal properties of propositions or objects. Rather, the subject is already equipped with formalization by virtue of some "material" (in the sense used in logic) relation with objects. The conclusion is that the form v. matter distinction of classical logic or metaphysics of logic functions independently of the subject v. object distinction.
For Nishida, the object of judgment involves a context in which truth and falsehood have already arisen, and this context is distinct from the properties of propositions or statements, which are already situated within a subject-object relation.
What I *can* work out from this analogy, esp. in context, is that Nishida's critique of Kant essentially boils down to what Nishida regards as a false "parallelism" assumption, wherein subject v. object distinction is tracked by a form v. matter distinction, given the conditions of possibility for an object of judgment and the aspects of propositions.
This is a good example of how Nishida tends to write clearly by being merely "suggestive" of his reasoning. He says things as if they were quite obvious, and I have to work out the reasoning myself. To be fair these are excerpts from an anthology, but I still find this to be a good example of deceptive clarity. This is not to say he's wrong--just that there's likely more going on.
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