Ethics in Early China

An Anthology


Edited by Chris Fraser, Dan Robins, and Timothy O’Leary

ISBN : 978-988-8028-93-1

Religion, Philosophy

August 2011

328 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$225.00

Early Chinese ethics has attracted increasing scholarly and social attention in recent years, as the virtue ethics movement in Western philosophy sparked renewed interest in Confucianism and Daoism. Meanwhile, intellectuals and social commentators throughout greater China have looked to the Chinese ethical tradition for resources to evaluate the role of traditional cultural values in the contemporary world. Publications on early Chinese ethics have tended to focus uncritical attention toward Confucianism, while neglecting Daoism, Mohism, and shared features of Chinese moral psychology. This book aims to rectify this imbalance with provocative interpretations of classical ethical theories including widely neglected views of the Mohists and newly reconstructed accounts of the “embodied virtue” tradition, which ties ethics to physical cultivation. The volume also addresses the broader question of the value of comparative philosophy generally and of studying early Chinese ethics in particular.

Contributors include Roger T. Ames, Stephen C. Angle, Jiwei Ci, Chris Fraser, Jane Geaney, William Haines, Chad Hansen, Manyul Im, Philip J. Ivanhoe, Franklin Perkins, Lisa Raphals, Dan Robins, Henry Rosemont, Jr., David Wong, and Lee Yearley.

Chris Fraser and Timothy O’Leary are associate professors of philosophy at the University of Hong Kong. Dan Robins is associate professor of philosophy at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

“Through beautiful, nuanced studies of the early texts, the authors provide a powerful portrait of early Chinese ethical thought in all of its philosophical sophistication. These outstanding essays should play a crucial role in bringing Chinese discussions of ethics into the larger conversations of philosophy in general.” —Michael Puett, Professor of Chinese History, Harvard University, author of To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self-Divinization in Early China

“The cosmopolitan, multicultural experience of modernity increasingly calls upon us to reflectively examine our traditions. Ethics in Early China is a first‑rate collection of new writings by top scholars on the classical Chinese traditions, Confucian and Daoist, which are part of the blood and bones of many modern sensibilities, not only of East Asians but of the many others who are part of a diaspora and heirs and heiresses to these traditions. This book is a wonderful resource for any teacher of comparative philosophy and a must‑have for any collection on classical Chinese ethics.” —Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy, Duke University