Our Concept & Activity


The Concept of UTCP

The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy (UTCP) was a part of the 21st-Century Center of Excellence (COE) Program (2002-2006) and the Global COE Program (2007-2011), which were funded by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Located at the Komaba campus, UTCP conducted philosophical research and education under the theme of "Co-existence". These activities produced a brand-new style of philosophical practice: team-based research, international collaboration between domestic and foreign scholars, ceaselessly tackling new themes or problems. In 2012, thanks to the support of the Uehiro Foundation, the Uehiro Research Division for the Philosophy of Co-existence was established. Our center continues to pursue the possibilities of new philosophical ideas, opening a human future, by promoting interdisciplinary and international research and education, and through practical cooperation with society.

* For details on each research project, please see the linked pages.
Uehiro Research Division for Philosophy of Co-existence

UTCP Activities

Research Section
The Center consists of the following six cross-disciplinary sections, each of which will function as a basic unit in education and research. Each section will work jointly not only with over 100 Japanese program collaborators, but also with approximately 100 overseas program collaborators, thus pursuing joint research with universities and research institutions around the world.

Section 1: Technology, Information, and the Brain
This section will propose a new ethics for modern society through philosophical reflections on the reformulation of the relationship between nature and humanity on the basis of the latest findings in the natural sciences, particularly computer science, neuroscience, and the history of technology.

Section 2: Arts, Representation, and the Body
This section will critically examine the limits and possibilities of human sensibilities and the human body through investigations into comprehensive theories of cultures of representation ranging from the arts (e.g. fine arts, theatre, literature, and film) to psychoanalysis.

Section 3: Asia, Modernity, Dialogue
This section will collaboratively construct a contemporary philosophy in East Asia through reflection on questions of modernity in relation to contemporary perceptions of history and issues of femininity, developed in philosophical dialogues between the Western world and East Asia.

Section 4: Japanese Culture and Traditional East Asian Thought
This section will transmit a new sense of values for human existence to the rest of the world by delving into conventional Western models of studies of humanity through practical comparisons and analysis of multiple traditions in East Asian thought such as Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.

Section 5: Religion and Secularization
This section will consider issues of secularization and secularism in the contemporary world from a historical perspective, and re-examine the “religious renaissance” in the age of globalization through comparative sociological studies on the relationship between religion and secularism.

Section 6: The Critique of Modernity and Classical Culture
This section will analyze and historicize “modernity” deeply rooted in the West, and elucidate both their characteristics and limits through reflections on classical texts from the perspective of comparative civilization studies.

Each research section will, unilaterally or jointly with other sections, carry out short-term academic events including colloquia and workshops in cooperation with scholars overseas. Mid-length International Seminars will provide an environment for visiting scholars to stay in Japan for a set period of time to develop new ideas through collaboration at the UTCP, then transmit these ideas to the world. Until now, the UTCP has hosted international symposia in North America, Europe, and East Asia. Under the Global COE program, the Center plans to host international symposia that will actively further work in Human Studies for the twenty-first century in the regions including Turkey, Argentina, and Israel.

Education Section

In order to facilitate academic dialogue and exchange among scholars across generations, the UTCP has implemented three education programs. The objective of the education programs is to nurture young scholars who have not only cross-disciplinary intellectual capacity and a comprehensive analytical ability, but also competence in multiple languages. The characteristic feature of these programs is that they will be implemented organically and multilaterally in close cooperation with scholars and institutions both within and outside Japan beyond the existing framework at the University of Tokyo. Doctoral students who are research assistants at the Center will receive credits for their work that count toward the PhD program requirement at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo.

(1) Short-Term Education Program
Under the supervision of the program manager and faculty, young researchers are to plan a year-long Short-term Education Program in line with their interests, on their own initiative. They are required to host workshops with other young researchers at collaborating universities and institutions.

(2) Mid-Term Education Program
Under the leadership of the program members, between four and six two-year projects are to be implemented as Mid-Term Education Programs each year in cooperation with overseas collaborating institutions. These programs consist of seminars and symposia. In the seminars, UTCP program members and faculty members from the collaborating institutions visit each other’s institutions to give lectures and conduct research, and are required to co-host a symposium based on the result of the seminars. For example, program members and young researchers can visit collaborating institutions in North America, Asia, and Europe to hold a joint seminar there. Young researchers at the UTCP are required to take part in one of the Mid-Term Education Programs.

(3) Advanced Education Program
The UTCP will run the following three seminars as the “Advanced Education Program”.
(a) Technology and Art Studies
(b) East Asian Thought and Japanese Thought
(c) Classical and Islamic Cultures Studies
These seminars are designed for deep historical investigation into conceptions of “co-existence” in the age of globalization. As omnibus seminars, they are to be given by faculty members affiliated with the UTCP and researchers of other institutions. These seminars, which are open to the public, including students of other universities, are intended for a fairly broad audience. Each session will consist mainly of a lecture by a faculty member, but presentations by participating students and audience discussions will be accommodated as appropriate.
(d) Support for giving presentations and writing papers in English
The purpose of this seminar is to improve young scholars’ competence in English, the principle language for presenting the results of their work to the international academic community. The seminar is conducted by native English speakers with a limited number of participants.

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