Acquiring wisdom, not knowledgeEriko Taoka, Associate Professor of Law
Courses to teach: Contracts and Comparative Constitutional Law
“Studying law is to acquire wisdom, not knowledge.” This is what a professor once said in class when I was a freshman in an undergraduate law department myself. Knowledge is information you find in a textbook, which you can acquire through memorization. In contrast, wisdom refers to the perspective and logical reasoning one applies and utilizes to deal with matters he/she encounters in his/her life. Wisdom cannot be acquired through rote memorization. It can only be acquired through an accumulation of experiences.
At the College of Law and Politics, over a period of four years, you will examine many kinds of conflicts and problems in society and constantly consider how to resolve them under the law. These vicarious experiences of social issues and conflicts and constant thinking processes will train your abilities to extend your imagination and put yourself in the shoes of other people. Furthermore, you will gain the creativity to come up with solutions that can properly reconcile the interests of those involved no matter what issues or conflicts you face.
The abilities to imagine and understand other people’s perspectives and different opinions, and to come up with solutions to reconcile competing interests and different opinions constitutes wisdom. Whatever career path you take after graduating from the College of Law and Politics, this wisdom will surely become useful, because you will encounter and continue to encounter various conflicts and problems in different situations. At such times, you will surely be able to draw upon your wisdom and guide people toward a solution that accommodates diverse and competing interests. When I was an undergraduate student like you, I did not clearly understand the difference between knowledge and wisdom. The difference became clearer over time. Now that I am on the teaching side like that professor who once gave me the wisdom, I’d like to pass the wisdom to you.