Chinese Philosophy (PHIL*3920) | College of Arts

Chinese Philosophy (PHIL*3920)

Code and section: PHIL*3920*01

Term: Fall 2022

Instructor: John Hacker-Wright


Method of Delivery:

The course will meet in-person. We will read and discuss texts from the classical Chinese philosophical tradition together. 

Course Synopsis:

This course will provide an overview of classical Chinese philosophy, starting with Kongzi (551-479 BCE) and ending with Han Feizi, who lived near the end of the Warring States period in 221 BCE. Although this course therefore covers only a tiny sliver of the history of philosophy in China, the covered period features the development of two schools of thought that are enormously influential in China down to the present day: Confucianism (or ruism, ru jia) and Daoism. In additional to the founding documents of these schools, the Analects and the Laozi or Daodejing our course will cover two early important Confucians, Mengzi and Xunzi, and one, important thinker with strong ties to Daoism, Zhuangzi. Also, it will cover two important ancient alternatives to these schools in Mohism and Han Feizi’s legalism. We will also consider writings by contemporary scholars on each of the major thinkers and these will familiarize you with some of the methods and major issues in contemporary scholarship in English on ancient Chinese thought.

Assignments & Means of Evaluation:

  • Quizzes (roughly weekly) - 30%
  • Mid-term - 30%
  • Final exam - 40%

Required Textbooks:

All readings will be provided on-line.

* Please note:  This is a preliminary web course outline only.  The Philosophy Department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.