•  1
    Understanding Change: The Interdependent Self in its Environment
    Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (5): 81-99. 2007.
  • New Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Chinese Philosophy
    Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (5): 3-8. 2007.
  •  1
    Skill and Mastery Philosophical Stories from the Zhuangzi (edited book)
    Rowman and Littlefield International. 2019.
  •  139
    The Cicada Catcher: Learning for Life
    In Karyn L. Lai & Wai-wai Chiu (eds.), Skill and Mastery Philosophical Stories from the Zhuangzi, Rowman and Littlefield International. 2019.
    The cicada catcher focuses as much on technique as he does on outcomes. In response to Confucius’ question, he articulates in detail the learning he has undertaken to develop techniques at each level of competence. This chapter explains the connection between the cicada catcher’s development of technique and his orientation toward outcomes. It uses details in this story to contribute to recent discussions in epistemology on the cultivation of technique.
  •  163
    In the Lunyu, Confucius remarks on the implausibility—or impossibility—of a life lacking in xin 信, reliability (2.22). In existing discussions of Confucian philosophy, this aspect of life is often eclipsed by greater emphasis on Confucian values such as ren 仁 (benevolence), li 禮 (propriety) and yi 義 (rightness). My discussion addresses this imbalance by focusing on reliability, extending current debates in two ways. First, it proposes that the common translation of xin as denoting coherence betw…Read more
  •  2
    Assessing participation skills: online discussions with peers
    Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 37 (8): 933-947. 2012.
    Many tertiary-level courses assess students’ participation in tutorial or online discussions. However, in educational and pedagogical research literature, criteria for assessing students’ skills in engaging with peers remain unclear. This article describes an online assignment with a set of participation criteria and a method for assessing the quality of students’ interactions with peers. The assignment focuses on students’ ability to utilise their critical thinking skills while engaging with pe…Read more
  •  110
    Emotional Attachment and Its Limits: Mengzi, Gaozi and the Guodian Discussions
    Frontiers of Philosophy in China 14 (1): 132-151. 2019.
    Mengzi maintained that both benevolence (ren 仁) and rightness (yi 義) are naturally-given in human nature. This view has occupied a dominant place in Confucian intellectual history. In Mencius 6A, Mengzi's interlocutor, Gaozi, contests this view, arguing that rightness is determined by (doing what is fitting, in line with) external circumstances. I discuss here some passages from the excavated Guodian texts, which lend weight to Gaozi's view. The texts reveal nuanced considerations of relational …Read more
  •  60
    Discussions of human partiality—anthropocentrism—in the literature in environmental ethics have sought to locate reasons for unnecessary and thoughtless degradation of the earth’s environment. Many of the debates have focused on metaethical issues, attempting to set out the values appropriate for an environmental ethic not constrained within an anthropocentric framework. In this essay, I propose that the fundamental problem with anthropocentrism arises when it is assumed that that is the only me…Read more
  •  69
    Since the 1940s, Western epistemology has discussed Gilbert Ryle’s distinction between knowledge-that and knowledge-how. Ryle argued that intelligent actions – manifestations of knowledge-how – are not constituted as intelligent by the guiding intervention of knowledge-that: knowledge-how is not a kind of knowledge-that; we must understand knowledge-how in independent terms. Yet which independent terms are needed? In this chapter, we consider whether an understanding of intelligent action must i…Read more
  •  44
    Ren: An Exemplary Life
    In Amy Olberding (ed.), Dao Companion to the Analects, Springer. pp. 83-94. 2014.
    This chapter discusses ren 仁, a major term in the Confucian Analects. It analyzes the range of meanings of ren across different conversations, paying special attention to its associations with other key Confucian terms such as li (禮 behavioural propriety) and zhi (知 understanding). Building on this analysis, the discussion focuses on ren in terms of how it is manifest in a person’s life. In particular, it expresses ren in terms of an exemplary life—a life lived well. The chapter also dwells brie…Read more
  •  8
    Learning from Chinese philosophies
    Taylor and Francis. 2006.
    Learning from Chinese Philosophies engages Confucian and Daoist philosophies in creative interplay, developing a theory of interdependent selfhood in the two philosophical traditions. Karyn Lai draws on the unique insights of the two philosophies to address contemporary debates on ethics, community and government. Issues discussed include questions on selfhood, attachment, moral development, government, culture and tradition, and feminist queries regarding biases and dualism in ethics. Throughou…Read more
  •  113
    An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy (2nd ed.)
    Cambridge University Press. 2018.
    This comprehensive introductory textbook to early Chinese philosophy covers a range of philosophical traditions which arose during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods in China, including Confucianism, Mohism, Daoism, and Legalism. It considers concepts, themes and argumentative methods of early Chinese philosophy and follows the development of some ideas in subsequent periods, including the introduction of Buddhism into China. The book examines key issues and debates in early Chines…Read more
  •  16
    Both Ancient Chinese and Greek philosophers provide accounts of the life lived well: a Confucian junzi, a Daoist sage and a Greek phronimos. Cultivation in Early China and Ancient Greece engages in comparative, cross-tradition scholarship and investigates the processes associated with cultivating or nurturing the self in order to live such lives. By focusing on the processes rather than the aims of cultivating a good life, an international team of scholars investigate how a person develops and …Read more
  •  8
    Skill and Mastery: Philosophical Stories From the Zhuangzi
    Rowman & Littlefield International. 2019.
    This valuable collection of illuminating analysis of skill stories from the Zhuangzi, a 4th century BCE Daoist text opens up new lines of inquiry in comparative East-West philosophical debates on skill, cultivation and mastery, as well as cross-disciplinary debates in psychology, cognitive science and philosophy.
  •  8
    Reflections on Analogical Thinking: The Centrality of Discretion
    Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (3): 229-235. 2017.
  •  52
    The Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics eds. by Lorraine Besser-Jones and Michael Slote (review)
    Philosophy East and West 68 (2): 639-645. 2018.
    The Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics, edited by Lorraine Besser-Jones and Michael Slote, is unusual among the recent crop of handbooks, encyclopedias, and compendiums in philosophy in a couple of respects. First, as well as presenting up-to-date surveys of the field, the Companion includes a number of entries that also engage in argument and negotiate tensions between different positions—some even questioning the nature of virtue ethics itself. These chapters are particularly interesting as …Read more
  •  50
    Global Thinking
    The Philosophers' Magazine 80 64-69. 2018.
  •  7
    Conceptual Foundations for Environmental Ethics: A Daoist Perspective
    Environmental Ethics 25 (3): 247-266. 2003.
    The concepts dao and de in the Daodejing may be evoked to support a distinctive and plausible account of environmental holism. Dao refers to the totality of particulars, including the relations that hold between them, and the respective roles and functions of each within the whole. De refers to the distinctiveness of each particular, realized meaningfully only within the context of its interdependence with others, and its situatedness within the whole. Together, dao and de provide support for an…Read more
  •  4
    Response to Frank Perkins (review)
    Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 15 (1): 143-144. 2016.
  •  22
    Critical notice of Joel J. Kupperman, learning from asian philosophy
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (1). 2003.
    This Article does not have an abstract
  •  293
    It is proposed here that the Confucian li, norms of appropriate behavior, be understood as part of the dynamic process of moral self-cultivation. Within this framework li are multidimensional, as they have different functions at different stages in the cultivation process. This novel interpretation refocuses the issue regarding the flexibility of li, a topic that is still being debated by scholars. The significance of this proposal is not restricted to a new understanding of li. Key features of …Read more
  •  145
    Ziran and wuwei in the daodejing : An ethical assessment
    Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 6 (4): 325-337. 2007.
    In Daoist philosophy, the self is understood as an individual interdependent with others, and situated within a broader environment. Within this framework, the concept ziran is frequently understood in terms of naturalness or nature while wuwei is explained in terms of non-oppressive government. In many existing accounts, little is done to connect these two key Daoist concepts. Here, I suggest that wuwei and ziran are correlated, ethical, concepts. Together, they provide a unifying ethical frame…Read more
  •  30
    Many scholars note that the Analects, and Confucian philosophy more generally, hold a conception of knowing that more closely approximates ‘knowing-how’ than ‘knowing-that’. However, I argue that this description is not sufficiently sensitive to the concerns of the early Confucians and their focus on self-cultivation. I propose that a particular conception of knowing—knowing to act in the moment—is better suited to capturing the Analects’ emphasis on exemplary lives in actual contexts. These inv…Read more
  •  302
    The daodejing: Resources for contemporary feminist thinking
    Journal of Chinese Philosophy 27 (2). 2000.
    This paper explores the contribution of early Daoist thought to contemporary feminist philosophy. It has often been noted that the Daodejing stands in contrast to other texts of the same period in its positive evaluation of femininity and of values associated with the feminine. This paper takes a cautious approach to the Daoist concept of the feminine, noting in particular its emphasis on the characteristic of feminine submissiveness. On the other hand, the paper seeks to demonstrate that the Da…Read more