Division of Philosophy


Created with the foundation of Kyoto Imperial University’s College of Letters in 1906, the Department of Ethics is one of the six oldest departments within the Faculty of Letters. Professor Kōichi Kanō, the first chair of the department who served concurrently as the first dean of the College of Letters, built the foundation for the unique academic culture of Kyoto University’s Faculty of Letters, inviting prominent intellectuals from outside of the academic establishment, such as Konan Naitō and Rohan Kōda, to serve as professors.

The aim of the department is the contemplation of human action from a philosophical perspective, or to study "social philosophy" in the broader sense of that term. Research themes of students may be categorized largely into either ethical theory or applied ethics, but in choosing either one, a student must nonetheless maintain an awareness of the other. Alao, historical studies providing an overview of the entire spectrum of ethical thought are alao important, serving as a filter to separate genuine scholastic study from arbitrary ideas or mere statements of opinion.

Within the department, study sessions and reading circles, organized mostly by graduate students, are held on a regular basis. Students can receive great intellectual stimulus by availing themselves of the opportunity to participate in theses activities. During the summer vacation, students and faculty members join in attending an intensive study camp focusing on a specific theme — an important annual event that also strengthens friendship and communication. Publications from the department include Jissen Tetsugaku Kenkyū, a journal with a history that is a quarter-century long, as well as compilations of source materials produced through several projects and collections of research papers, which serve as references for students in deciding their own research orientations.

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MIZUTANI, Masahiko Prof. Philosophy of Communication; Applied Ethics
KODAMA, Satoshi Assoc. Prof. Philosophy of Communication; Applied Ethics