Chinese Philosophy
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Contact information:

Department of Philosophy
East China Normal University, 500 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai, 200241
Tel:86-21- 54345125
Fax:86-21- 54345125
E-mail: xdfang@philo.ecnu.edu.cn


The ECNU Philosophy Department is a major center of philosophical study in mainland China. The department has 18 full professors, 17 associate professors, and a number of lecturers. The department's Ph. D. program has four degree-bestowing areas, which are Chinese philosophy, Western philosophy, Marxist philosophy, and Logic. Its master's program has 9 degree-granting areas, which are Chinese philosophy, Western philosophy, logic, ethics, philosophy of science and technology, history of natural science, religious studies, philosophy of management, and Marxist philosophy.
Our department holds a prestigious place among philosophy departments in China. Our philosophical tradition is one 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 International Society for Metaphysical Studies since 2012, with Professor Yang Guorong of the department serving as the society's current president. The department is also home to an outstanding graduate program in Chinese philosophy, which has been recognized by the National Ministry of Education as a national level major area of study since 2007, and was twice listed (2001 and 2007) by the Municipality of Shanghai as a municipal level Key Discipline/Area of Study.
The department’s graduate programs began to enroll international students in 1995, and since then has accepted students from U.S.A., Switzerland, 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.


Application for the M. A. degree in the International Program for Graduate Studies 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: completion of 30 credit hours of course work, and successful defense of an MA thesis of 10,000-20,000 words in length. The course work comprises of two common-core courses (Chinese Language, Chinese Culture/Civilization, 7 credits), three required courses in philosophy (9 credits), three elective courses in philosophy (9 credits), and two outside courses from any of the following departments: Chinese Language and Literature, History, Anthropology, Political Science, and other MA programs at ECNU (at least 4 credits). In addition, students are required to participate in 4 or more academic lectures, and write up a detailed report for each lecture ( 1 credit).
(2) Requirements for the Ph. D.
The 4-year Ph.D. program requires a course work of 15 credits and a Ph.D. dissertation of 40,000-50,000 words in length.

Course Catalog:

Course Category Course Name Credits Semester
required Philosophical Chinese 3 Fall or Spring
  Selected Readings in Confucianism 3 Fall or Spring
  Selected Readings in Daoism 3 Fall or Spring
elective(choose any 3) Neo-Taoism of the Wei-Jin Era 3 Fall or Spring
  Neo-Confucianism 3 Fall or Spring
  Selected Topics in Chinese Buddhism 3 Fall or Spring
  elected Topics in Modern Chinese Philosophy 3 Fall or Spring
  Metaphysics: East and West 3 Fall or Spring
  Epistemology Issues in Chinese Philosophical Tradition 3 Fall or Spring
  Moral Philosophy from a Comparative Perspective 3 Fall or Spring
  Language and Logic in Chinese Philosophical Tradition 3 Fall or Spring


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.

Dr. Liu Liangjian
Dr. 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:

Review of Peng Guoxiang’s Interpretation and Examination of Confucian Tradition, Journal of Chinese Philosophy. 40:3/4.
“Virtue Ethics and Confucianism: A Methodological Reflection,” in Virtue Ethics and Confucianism, ed. by Stephen C. Angle and Michael A. Slote, Routledge.
“Yang Guorong and His Concrete Metaphysics” (the guest editor’s Introduction). Contemporary Chinese Thought. no. 4, Summer, 2012.
Review of Huang Chun-chieh’s The Confucian Classics and Their Ideas in the Cultural Interaction in East Asia: Interaction, Transformation and Syntheses, Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy. September 2012 (11. 3).
“Contemporary Chinese Studies of WANG Fuzhi In Mainland China,” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy,Vol.3, No.2, Summer 2004.

Dr. Paul Joseph D’Ambrosio
Dr. D’Ambrosio is currently a post-doctoral researcher 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, and Fudan University in China.
Research areas: Chinese philosophy, comparative study of Western and Chinese philosophy, ethics
E-mail: pauljdambrosio@hotmail.com

Select Publications:

“Hegel and the Daoist Sage” Journal of Chinese Philosophy, (forthcoming: 2015) “Blending dao: An Analysis of Images in the Daodejing” Journal of Daoist Studies volume 7, February 2014. 1-27.
“Rethinking Environmental Issues in a Daoist Context: Why Daoism Is and Is Not Environmentalism” Environmental Ethics volume 35, Winter 2013. 401-417.
“How Confucian Role Ethics Deal with Corruption: Excavating some of the Advantages of Role Ethics as a Modern Moral Alternative” in ACTA: Proceedings of the Quadricentennial International Philosophy Congress (Thomism and Asian Cultures: Celebrating 400 Years of Dialogue Across Civilizations. Edited by Alfredo P. Co and Paolo A. Bolaños. UST Publishing House: Manila. 2012

Mr. Chad Austin Meyers
Chad earned his B. A. at Kent State University. Through the Confucian Institute of Miami University, Meyers won a scholarship to study Chinese philosophy at ECNU. Meyers completed his 3 years Master’s program in the department of philosophy at ECNU, successfully defended his thesis on the Daoist concept of qi from the perspective of Deleuze’s distinction between extensive and intensive quantities, and won another scholarship to pursue his research in Chinese philosophy. He is currently a doctoral candidate under the supervision of Prof. Yang Guorong in the Department of Philosophy, ECNU.
Research areas: Ancient Daoist thought, flat ontology, Gilles Deleuze
E-mail: technocratopia@gmail.com

Select publications:

[translation] The Reciprocal Accomplishment of Self and Things: A Contemporary Chinese Philosophy of the Meaning of Being, Indiana University Press [in progress].
[translation] “Yang Guorong’s Concrete Metaphysics,” in Contemporary Chinese Thought (vol. 43, no. 4, Summer 2012).

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