Is Philosophy of Science Alive in the East? A Report from Japan

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Uchii, Soshichi
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Do you know the Japanese equivalent for "philosophy"? That word, "tetsugaku", was coined after the Meiji Revolution (1868). Do you know when the standard philosophy of science, in the form of the logical empiricism, was introduced into Japan? After the World War II, around 1950. Do you know whether or not the philosophy of science, especially its "hardcore", is studied seriously in Japan? Very few people are studying the philosophy of space and time, the philosophy of quantum mechanics, the philosophy of evolution, the philosophy of probability, or the philosophy of social sciences. Do you know how many HPS departments exist in Japan? Only three, one is founded in 1951 and its graduate program was extended in 1970, and the other two were founded around 1993. Now, with these preparations, you are beginning to understand what I am going to talk about---Is Philosophy of Science alive in Japan? I will briefly outline the history of the philosophy of science in Japan, and discuss some of its peculiarities. And from this discussion, I wish to point out what is needed for the philosophy of science in Japan. Here is an Outline: 1. Three Basic Facts (1868-2002) 2. Taketani's Doctrine of the Three Stages (1936-1968) 3. Logical Empiricism (1950-1970) 4. Scientists and Philosophers (1950-2002) 5. "New" Philosophy of Science (1970-1995) 6. What is needed for Japanese Philosophy of Science? (1991-????)