This department was founded in 1993 as a branch of the new division of behavioral sciences, and Prof. Soshichi Uchii (philosophy of science), former Professor of Ethics, was nominated to the chair. Then in 1995, Associate Professor Kazuyuki Ito (history of science) joined the staff, and a full program started for teaching and studying philosophy and history of science. Because of the reorganization of the Graduate School of Letters in 1995, this department now belongs to the division of modern culture. Prof. Uchii retired in March 2006, and Ito succeeded to the chair. In 2008, Associate Professor Tetsuji Iseda (philosophy of science) joined the staff.
Four centuries have passed since the modern science emerged; and many branches of science have remarkably developed to the extent that no one can ignore them when we consider modern and contemporary culture.
But then we have to face the fundamental question “what is science, what are the distinctive features of science?”—this is the main theme we try to answer.
We try to attack this question from two different points of view, i.e., the one philosophical, and the other historical. First, we have to know what scinces have been, and this is the task of the history of science. And second, we wish to know the nature of scientific knowledge and activities, including the answer or many asnswers to the question “what ought sciences to be?”, and this is the task of the philosophy of science.
Moreover, we have many additional problems such as the distinction and relationship between science and technology, the roles of science and technology in our society and culture.
We have programs for undergraduates (B.A) and graduate students (2 years for M.A., and additional 3 years for Ph.D.) .
We offer introductory courses for philosophy and history of science (for undergraduates), seminars for training linguistic and logical abilities indispensable for reading and analyzing historical and contemporary documents in our fields (undergraduates and graduates), lectures on scientific methodology (undergraduates and graduates), and specialized lectures (undergraduates and graduates) treating specific themes and theories, ranging from logic, mathematics, physics, biology to social sciences, such as probability theory, modern mechanics, kinetic theory of gases, evolutionary theories, and sociology of science.
For undergraduates, logic (at least up to the proof of completeness of first order logic) and graduation thesis (including presentation of a preliminary version in our seminar) are compulsory.
The graduate program is divided into two stages, and in order to proceed to the Ph.D. program, one must clear a certain standard for grades, and must obtain grade A for Master’s Thesis. Students with M.A. degree from other universities can apply for our Ph.D. program.