About Human Sciences

The School of Human Sciences was founded on the intrinsic motive to construct a new academic discipline and its requisite research and education infrastructure against the background of emerging new social demands. Its founding was marked by the impetus to deconstruct the conventional academic frameworks characteristic of traditional school of letters and school of education. The open atmosphere of Osaka University allowed the launching of such a new initiative.

The idea of 'science of man' that was advocated by cultural anthropology in the US gave the inspiration for the conceptualization of the new academic discipline of human sciences. It was a symbol of a unifying science encompassing anthropology, sociology and psychology that was required in the interdisciplinary approach to study, for instance, 'culture and personality.' In the US, however, this idea of 'science of man,' was gradually replaced by the idea of behavioral sciences. The process of designing the blueprint for the School of Human Sciences, however, kept some distance from the monolithic perspective of behaviorism.

Rather, the model was taken from 'sciences humaines' that evolved in France. It was a classifying concept that integrated various branches of sciences that emphasized the importance of experience-based approaches. Its characteristic was 'to keep an open stance toward natural sciences while overlapping with various humanities.'

Given the fact that our school was conceived on the three academic disciplines of psychology, sociology and education, we cannot boldly state that we encompass the entire domain of humanities. Rather we should express our objective as 'to respond effectively to academic and social demands today at the unprecedented historic moment of transition' through 'interdisciplinary and collaborative studies among various sciences on human behavior, society and education.' However, as we identify ourselves as 'human sciences,' we intend to create a forum of exchanges and dialogues open both to humanities and sciences rather than just being a replacement of conventional school of education or school of letters. Also, our interdisciplinary initiative covers spheres wider than psychology, sociology and education.

Our position as such demands us to be equipped with comprehensive knowledge and understanding of various issues that today's human society is faced with. Each academic discipline today should not focus only on their own advancement or issues specific to themselves, but rather strive for integrating important achievements from different disciplines. Such an orientation towards academic development constitutes the fundamental philosophy of the School of Human Sciences.

Accumulating existing achievements alone cannot lead to such a comprehensive understanding. We have to deepen our own academic expertise and also to deal even with technical matters in the context of critical reflection on what human beings are all about. In order to substantiate human sciences as an interdisciplinary and comprehensive discipline, we have to remain modest guided by such a critical reflection.