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Introduction to the Department of Philosophy

As the oldest department of philosophy in the Western-style academic institutions in Japan, the Department of Philosophy at the University of Tokyo continues to play the most important role in philosophical education and research. The department has a long history since the University of Tokyo was established as the first university in 1877. The earliest faculty menbers include Raphael Koeber (1848-1923), who is well-known as Natsume Soseki's mentor, and Inoue Tetsujiro (1856-1944), the first Japanese professor of philosophy who coined some of the most important Japanese philosophical terms. Almost all the founders of modern Japanese philosophy are the alumni of our department: Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945), Tanabe Hajime (1885-1962), Kuki Shuzo (1888-1941) and Watsuji Tetsuro (1889-1960), among other famous philosophers.

Today's department of philosophy, which has been separated from other philosophy-related departments since 1910, belongs to the Faculty of Letters (undergraduate) and to the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology. Our faculty now includes four professors, an associate professor, an assistant professor and an instructional assistant (See the listing). And we invite three adjunct lecturers each year, who are the most eminent specialists in various subjects.

Our lectures and seminars cover variety of areas, from ancient Greek to Contemporary philosophy, with many different approaches such as metaphysics, epistemology, theory of action, history of philosophy, moral philosophy, applied ethics, theory of care, etc. Although the official language is Japanese, some lectures and seminars are conducted in English or in other Western languages. Researchers from all over the world frequently join our seminars or give special lectures. For the latest news, see our top page.


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