Through the study of “philosophy,” which is the basis of all learning, students cultivate the ability to reflect on familiar issues from their essences, penetrate the core of various problems, and prepare themselves for future societal participation.
Department of Philosophy at Toyo University has always retained and promoted the ideal of “practice of philosophy,” which is fundamental to our university, as it is the oldest philosophy department among private universities in Japan since the founding of Shiritsu Tetsugakukan (the private school of philosophy) in 1887. In our department, students learn about a wide range of fields --- from ancient Greek philosophy to modern thought --- and reflect on various subjects deeply. They make inquiries into the possibilities of philosophy in the future by absorbing the intellectual heritage that philosophy has nurtured for 2,500 years and cultivating new perspectives on philosophy.
The classes offered at Department of Philosophy are divided into “lectures” and “seminars”. In “lectures,” students are expected to widen and deepen their understanding of philosophical knowledge. In “seminars,” they are required to deal with original philosophical texts written in foreign languages and grasp the true message therein that cannot be obtained through translations. By participating in active discussions on the basis of such close readings, they further cultivate their own ability to think.
Through these approaches, students are expected not only to adapt themselves to the philosophical conceptual scheme which has already been systematically established but also to search continuously for something new by posing questions on elements of their daily life that are taken for granted. Consequently, we wish students to participate in the “practice” of philosophy, which is what philosophy essentially should be, and not solely to receive the “theory” of philosophy.
At Department of Philosophy, small “seminars” begin from the first year and students practice doing philosophy, which essentially means to ruminate, by having intense dialogs and discussions. Students open a way to deeper reflection by being constantly posed the following question by teaching staff and other participants: “Why do you think so?” Accordingly, they develop the ability to engage in dialogs through understanding each opinion.
In addition, Department of Philosophy gives much importance on the learning of foreign languages. Students choose at least two languages out of English, German and French in their first and second years, and develop high proficiency by reading carefully and analyzing closely philosophical original texts written in each of these languages.
By learning at Department of Philosophy in this manner, students will equip themselves with the ability to think and communicate effectively and a command of languages: these are “tools” that help us survive our contemporary world.