21st-Century Center of Excellence (COE) Program

The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy (UTCP) was established in the fall of 2002. The Center was selection by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) for its 21st-Century Center of Excellence (COE) Program. UTCP aimed to create an international base for world-class philosophical research and education. By bringing international scholars to UTCP for extended periods of collaborative research, and through a trilateral academic exchange between Asia, North America, and Europe, UTCP strove to establish an international center for philosophy at University of Tokyo’s Komaba Campus. The concept informing UTCP’s formation, activities, and goals was the fundamental idea of “co-existence” as a basis from which to engage with the various philosophical problems affecting the contemporary world, and to explore philosophies that can cut a road through to the future of humanity. UTCP researchers, committed to the work of understanding and critiquing human knowledge, language, art, and society, practiced intellectual collaboration on an international scale. Through a variety of activities, UTCP wrestled with the philosophical thinking mandated by the reality of our times, not merely with “philosophy” in the sense of philological study or technical research confined to a small group of specialists.

Global COE Program

In 2007, MEXT again selected UTCP for its Global COE Program. Henceforth, UTCP pursued the following objectives:

(1) UTCP sought to expand its current trilateral framework for international academic exchange (developed as part of the 21st-Century COE Program) by incorporating the Islamic sphere. We aimed to establish a base for a network of joint philosophical research so as to attempt to “redefine human existence” within this unprecedented age of globalization.
(2) UTCP aimed to further enhance the role it plays in education, as it continued to train young scholars of broad intellectual ability, above all in practical settings. We conceived of this educational experience as one that provides younger scholars with (1) broad intellectual and critical skills for problematizing issues associated with a full range of intellectual fields and pursuits, from the natural sciences and the latest technologies to representations of culture and religious culture; (2) a practical and international language ability that enables these scholars to participate in creative intellectual dialogues; and (3) a comprehensive understanding of other societies grounded in a knowledge of the histories of various cultures.

UTCP in affiliation with the Graduate School and College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo

In April 2012, UTCP started afresh as a research center affiliated with the Graduate School and College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo. By maintaining and developing an international network for philosophical research cultivated through the 21st-Century and Global COE Programs, UTCP aims to “redefine human existence” from diverse perspectives and to conceptualize “a world view of co-existence,” responding to the fundamental, pressing problems facing humanity.

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