Chinese Philosophy 2019
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    The ECNU Philosophy Department is a major center of philosophical study in mainland China. The department has 20 full professors, 17 associate professors, and a number of lecturers. There are 7 Ph.D. programs (Chinese philosophy, Western philosophy, Marxist philosophy, ethics, logic, philosophy of science, and religious studies) and 7 M.A. programs (Chinese philosophy, Western philosophy, Marxist philosophy, ethics, logic, philosophy of science, and religious studies) in the department.

    Our department holds a prestigious place among philosophy departments in China.   Our philosophical tradition is in the direct line of the Jin-Feng School of Thought in modern Chinese history, a line that began with the great logician-epistemologist Jin Yuelin and passed on to Feng Qi, founder of the ECNU philosophy department.  The department is home to the International Society for Metaphysics  since 2012, with Professor Yang Guorong serving as the society’s current president. Our Chinese Philosophy Program has enjoyed a high reputation both at home and abroad.

    The department’s graduate programs began to enroll international students in 1995, and since then has accepted students from U.S.A., Switzerland, Israel, Belarus, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In recent years the Chinese Philosophy Program has produced top doctoral and post-doctoral international students who have become productive professional philosophers in their own fields of studies.  

    The International Program for Graduate Studies in Chinese Philosophy at ECNU will provide students with excellent academic training, wonderful life experience in Shanghai and great advantage for further study, finding globally focused careers in and beyond the university setting.


Application for the M. A. degree in the International Program for Graduate Studies in Chinese Philosophy at ECNU requires a bachelor’s degree in philosophy or other related academic disciplines. Application for the Ph. D. degree requires a master's degree in philosophy or the equivalent of an M. A. in philosophy. Good command of the Chinese language is desirable, but not required.

Degree Requirements

(1) Requirements for the M. A.

     The MA program at ECNU is a two-year program. The degree requirement has two components:

1. Completion of 30 credit hours of course work. The course work comprises of 2 common-core courses (Chinese Language, Chinese Culture/Civilization, 7 credits), 4 required courses in philosophy (12 credits), 3 elective courses in philosophy (9 credits), and 1 outside courses from any of the following departments: Chinese Language and Literature, History, Anthropology, Political Science, and other MA programs at ECNU (at least 2 credits). In addition, students are required to participate in at least 4 academic lectures, and submit a written report for each lecture attended (1 credit).

2. Successful defense of an M.A. thesis of at least 8,000 words in length. Successful defense of the M.A. thesis research proposal is also required in the third semester.

(2) Requirements for the Ph. D.

The 4-year Ph.D. program requires a course work of 15 credits and a Ph.D. dissertation.

The Ph.D. program at ECNU is a four-year program. The degree requirement has three components:

1. completion of 15 credit hours of course work. The course work comprises of 1 common-core course (Chinese Language, Chinese Culture/Civilization, 2-3 credits), 3 required courses in philosophy (9 credits), and 1 or 2 elective courses (at least 3-4 credits). In addition, students are required to participate in at least 4 academic lectures, and submit a written report for each lecture attended (1 credit).

2. At least 1 academic article published in A&HCI or SSCI indexed journals, or at least 2 academic articles published in other journals (as the sole or first author, indicating ECNU as the sole or first academic affiliation).

3. Successful defense of a Ph.D. thesis of at least 50,000 words in length. Successful defense of the Ph.D. thesis research proposal is also required in the fourth semester..

Course Catalog:

Course Category

Course Name



required major courses

Philosophical Chinese




Selected Readings in Confucianism




Selected Readings in Daoism



required major course for M.A. students/ elective major course for Ph.D. students


elective major courses

Metaphysics: East and West






Moral Philosophy from a Comparative Perspective
















Epistemological Issues in Chinese Philosophical Tradition





Selected Topics in Chinese Buddhism




Language and Logic in Chinese Philosophical Tradition







Selected Topics in Modern Chinese Philosophy




Faculty and professors

Our faculty is made up of a group of highly dedicated and academically well-established scholars and educators. Below are the profiles of some of the faculty members who are responsible for the teaching and thesis-directing in the International Program:

Professor Yang Guorong
Prof. Yang is a leading figure in philosophy in China today. He is a holder of the Education Ministry endowed Changjiang Professorship, and is currently serving as the President of the International Society for Metaphysics(ISM). Professor Yang is the author of more than 15 books and over 180 articles.
An entry on Yang and his contribution to Chinese philosophy can also be found in Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (New York: Routledge, 2003).
Research Areas: metaphysics, ethics, history of Chinese philosophy, comparative philosophy.
E-Mail: yangguorongecnu@163.com

Select Publications:

A Treatise on Dao, Beijing: Beijing University Press, 2011.
Ethics and Being: Treatise on Moral Philosophy, Beijing: Beijing University Press, 2011.
Accomplishing the Self and Accomplishing Things: The Genesis of a World of Meaning. Beijing: Beijing University Press, 2011.
"Transforming knowledge into Wisdom", Philosophy: East and West, Hawaii, Vol.52/4, October, 2002, pp.441-458
"The Debate between Scientism and metaphysics in Early Twentieth Century", Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy,Springer, Vol. II, No.1, New York, December, 2002. pp.79-96
"Mengzi and Democracy", Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Vol.31, No.1, Blackwell Publishing, March 2004, pp.83-102
"Zhen (Truth)", in Keywords: Truth, Other Press, New York, 2004
"Being, Knowing and Wisdom", Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy,Springer, Vol.V, No.1, New York, Winter, 2005. Pp.57-72
"Being and Value", Philosophy: East and West, Hawaii, Vol.58/2, April, 2008
"Wang Yangming’s Moral Philosophy: Innate Consciousness and Virtue", Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 37:1,March 2010, Blackwell Publishing
"Virtue, Norm, and Moral Practice", Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, Springer, Volume 13, Number 1
"Yang Guorong’s Concrete Metaphysic", Contemporary Chinese Thought , Summer 2012, Vol. 43 No. 04.

Professor Zong Desheng
Professor Zong obtained his Ph. D. in Philosophy in 1998 from Tulane University, New Orleans. Before joining ECNU Professor Zong taught at several universities in the US, including American University in Washington D. C. and Central Michigan University in Michigan.
Research Areas: philosophy of language, ethics, comparative philosophy.
E-mail: dszong@philo.ecnu.edu.cn

Select Publications:

“Retention of Indexical Belief and the Notion of Psychological Continuity”, The Philosophical Quarterly 61:244 (July 2011)
“A New Framework for Comparative Study of Philosophy”, Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 13:4 (Winter 2010)
“Three Language-Related Methods in Chinese Zen Buddhism”, Philosophy East and West 55:4 (October 2005)
“Agent-Neutrality is the Exclusive Feature of Consequentialism”, Southern Journal of Philosophy 38:4 (Winter 2000)
“Studies of Intensional Contexts in Mohist Writings”,Philosophy East and West, Vol. 50, No. 2 (Apr., 2000)

Professor Yu Zhenhua
Professor Yu obtained one Ph.D. from East China Normal University and another from University of Bergen. He is now Chairman of the Department of Philosophy, ECNU and Co-director of the Knowledge and Action Lab, Joriss. He is also a professor of Chinese philosophy at New York University Shanghai. He has published more than 10 English articles in journals such as International Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophy Today, Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, and Tradition and Discovery.
Research Areas: metaphysics, epistemology and comparative philosophy
E-mail: ecnuyu@hotmail.com, zhyu@philo.ecnu.edu.cn

Select Publications:

How is Metaphysical Wisdom Possible? Shanghai: East China Normal University Press, 2000
The Tacit Dimension of Human Knowledge, Beijing: Beijing University Press, 2012
"The Expansion of Epistemology: The Metaphysical and the Practical Approach", Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, Vol.11, No.2, 2012.
"Being-in-the-world in a Polanyian Perspective", in Margitay T. (ed.), Knowing and Being in the Intersection of Philosophical Traditions, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010.
"Towards a Thick Notion of Democracy via a Critical Examination of Michael Oakeshott", in Simen Anderson Øyen and Rasmus T. Slaattelid (eds.), Multiple Democracies in Theory and History, Bergen: SVT Press, 2009.
"Embodiment in Polanyi's Theory of Tacit Knowing", Philosophy Today, Vol. 52, No.2, 2008.
"A Critique of Rorty's Conception of Knowledge from the Perspective of the Theory of Tacit Knowing", Appraisal, Vol.5, No.3, 2005.
"Two Cultures Revisited", Tradition and Discovery, Vol.28, No.3, 2001-2002.

Professor Fang Xudong
Prof. Fang obtained his Ph.D. at Beijing University in 2001. He is now a professor and doctoral supervisor at the Department of Philosophy, ECNU. Fang was a visiting professor in 2006 at Harvard University and at Oxford University in 2009.
Research Areas: Neo-Confucianism, Confucian Ethics, Interpretation of classics.
E-mail: xdfang@philo.ecnu.edu.cn

Select Publications:

The Painting Comes After the Plain Groundwork: The Interpretations and Philosophical Studies of the Classics, Beijing: Beijing University Press, 2012
“After Truth or Obey Parents: A Comparative Study on the Filial Piety”, Philosophical Researches, No.10 (Oct, 2014)
“A New Remark on the Saying ‘Zhuang Zi is emphasizing nature too much to have a good understanding of Human Being’: Basing on the background of contemporary dispute on animal’s rights”, Journal of Shenzhen University, Vol.31 No.1(Jan, 2014)
“Intention and Action: A Philosophical Interpretation of Wang Yangming’s Doctrine of ‘Uniting Knowledge with Action’”, Social Science, No.5 (May, 2012)
“Confucian Ethics and Impartiality: On the Confucian View about Brotherhood”,Frontier of Philosophy in China, Vol.7, No.1 (Jan, 2012)

Professor Xue Yu
After studied at University of Kelaniya, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tokyo University, Japan, and Princeton University USA, Prof. Xue Yu obtained his Ph. D. at the University of Iowa, USA in 2003. He has taught at Grinnell College, USA and Chinese University of Hong Kong for many years. His research findings on Chinese Buddhism, humanistic Buddhism and others are influential in both Chinese and English academic circle. He has published 5 books and more than 50 papers in Chinese and English. He masters Chinese, English, Japanese and Pali.
Research Areas: Chinese Buddhism, humanistic Buddhism, Chan Buddhism and culture, religion and violence, religion and environmental ethics
E-mail: zycheng@philo.ecnu.edu.cn

Select Publications:

Buddhism, War, and Nationalism: Chinese Monks in the Struggle Against Japanese Aggression, 1931-1945. New York: Routledge, 2005.
“Pure Mind and Pure Land: Buddhist Inspiration to Environmentalism,” Oxford Publication Company, 2014.
“Buddhism for Social Justice,” Edvard, Knut Larsen and Knud Jørgensen eds., Power and Partnership, Regnum Books International, 2014: 81-93.
“Buddhist Manifestation of Patriotism during the Korean War,” Frontier of History in China, V. 9, N. 2, 2014: 1-23.
“Buddhist Efforts for the Reconciliation of Buddhism and Marxism in the Early Years of the People’s Republic of China,” in Recovering Buddhist China in the 20th Century, ed., Jan Kiely and Brooks Jessup, University of Hawaii Press, 2014: 211-254. 5. “Recreation of Rituals in Humanistic Buddhism: A Case Study of Fo Guang Shan,” Asian Philosophy, V, 23, I, 4; 2013: 350-364.
“Buddhism and the Justification of War with Focus on Chinese Buddhist History,” Buddhism and Violence: Militarism and Buddhism in Modern Asia, edited by Vladimir Tikhonov and Torkel Brekke, New York: Routledge, 2012: 194-208
“Dialectical Centralism: Buddhist Response to the Controversy between Anthropocentrism and Eco-centrism,” in The International Journal for the Study of Humanistic Buddhism. The Chinese University Press, v. 2 (2012):1-14.

Prof. Liu Liangjian
Prof. Liu received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from East China Normal University (ECNU), Shanghai. Since 2006 he has worked for the Department of Philosophy and Institute of Modern Chinese Thought and Culture at ECNU, where he is now Associate Professor of Philosophy. Liu is the author of Heaven, Humans, and the Fluctuating Boundary: A Metaphysical Exposition of Wang Chuanshan (Shanghai, 2007), as well as many Chinese and English articles concerning ethics, linguistic philosophy, history of Chinese philosophy and comparative philosophy in Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, Contemporary Chinese Thought, etc. He is also the Chinese translator of Barry Allen’s Knowledge and Civilization (Hangzhou, 2010) and Karyn L. Lai’s An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy (Beijing, 2013).

Research Areas: Chinese philosophy, comparative study of Chinese and Western philosophy

E-mail: skyliuchina@163.com.

Select Publications:

“Virtue Ethics and Confucianism: A Methodological Reflection,” in Virtue Ethics and Confucianism, ed. by Stephen C. Angle and Michael A. Slote, Routledge, 2013.

“Contemporary Chinese Studies of WANG Fuzhi In Mainland China,” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy,Vol.3, No.2, Summer 2004.

Assistant Prof. Paul Joseph D’Ambrosio
Dr. D’Ambrosio is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, ECNU. He received his Bachelor's degree from Merrimack College, USA. He has taught Chinese philosophy at the National University of Ireland in Ireland, Merrimack College in the USA, University of Slovenia in Slovenia, University of Iceland in Iceland, and Fudan University in China. Dr. D’Ambrosio has published dozens of articles on Confucianism, Daoism, Neo-Daoism, and contemporary comparative philosophy, and is the translator of over ten books on modern Chinese philosophy.

Research areas: Chinese philosophy, comparative study of Western and Chinese philosophy, ethics

E-mail: pauljdambrosio@hotmail.com

Select Publications:

Encountering China: Michael Sandel and Chinese Philosophy. Harvard University Press, 2018. (with Michael Sandel)

Genuine Pretending: On the Philosophy of the Zhuangzi. Columbia University Press, 2017. (with Hans-Georg Moeller)

“Imagination in the Zhuangzi: The Madman of Chu’s Alternative to Confucian Cultivation” Asian Philosophy, March 2017. 27(1): 30-42. (A&HCI)

“On Li Zehou’s Philosophy: An Introduction by Three Translators” Philosophy East and West, October, 2016. 66(4): 1057-1067 (A&HCI) (with Robert Carleo and Andrew Lambert)

We also invite prestigious scholars as guest professors to help conduct workshops and teach short-term courses in our English-language Masters and Ph.D. programs. Some of our short-term professors include Roger Ames, Graham Parkes, Hans-Georg Moeller, Stephen Angle, Edward Slingerland, and Geir Sigurðsson.

Contact information:

Department of Philosophy

East China Normal University

500 Dongchuan Road

Shanghai  200241


Tel:86-21- 54345125

Fax:86-21- 54345125

E-mail: pauljdambrosio@hotmail.com



English-taught Programs

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