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Thinking for Yourself

We are now living in a time of great changes. These changes such as global warming, aging population, intensifying global market competition, and an ever-expanding cyber space are fundamentally transforming the whole structure of the society we live in. In such a time of great changes, it becomes more and more difficult for us to consider things and solve problems as if they are simply extensions of the past.

What is needed here is the ability to understand a new situation and take appropriate action based on this understanding. In other words the ability to think for yourself will be in greater demand. More specifically, the ability to think for yourself is the process of identifying an issue, explaining the issue, verifying the explanation to determine whether it holds, and if the explanation does indeed hold, putting it into action to form solutions. This is the methodology of learning—of identifying an unsolved problem, constructing a hypothesis that logically explains the problem, and testing the hypothesis through various scientific methods to reach a conclusion.

Thus, the ability to think for yourself is, in fact, obtained by learning, and this is why our founder Yukichi Fukuzawa, who also lived in a time of major transformation from the feudal Edo to the modern Meiji period, emphasized the importance of learning. In times of great transition, conducting progressive, leading research becomes increasingly important. For example, we need to pursue both in-depth and interdisciplinary research that can solve such problems as global warming and population aging, which are threatening the sustainability of our society, and creative research that can produce new value to make our society more affluent despite fierce global market competition and the expansion of cyber space.

In order to promote these types of research, Keio University is making every effort to provide a better environment in which our hard-working faculty members and students, who are dedicated to their research in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, are able to fully realize their abilities. Our founder Yukichi Fukuzawa established Keio University to contribute to society through learning in a time of great change, and we wish to realize his founding principle in the contemporary world by fostering people who can think for themselves and gain new wisdom for the benefit of society.

Atsushi Seike
President, Keio University

Professor Atsushi Seike

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