Warp, Weft, and Way

Chinese and Comparative Philosophy 中國哲學與比較哲學

ECNU grad programs, job openings, and Intercultural Center

I pass on this message from Paul D’Ambrosio of East China Normal University, concerning ECNU’s English-language MA and PhD programs; job openings at ECNU, and their new Intercultural Center.

Firstly, I would like to remind everyone about our English-language MA and PhD programs at ECNU. One of the unique features of our program is that students in our classes are split, about 50-50, Chinese and foreign. This makes for an exceptional teaching environment.

Additionally, all of our previous applicants have also received scholarships that wave tuition and provide health insurance and housing. The students are also given a stipend of 3,000rmb per month, which is plenty to live on.

A more detailed description is given at the end of this message. However, anyone interested is encouraged to email me directly at pauljdambrosio (at) hotmail (dot) com

Secondly, I am happy to announce that East China Normal University is establishing an “Intercultural Center,” tentatively titled “Intercultural Center for Research, Teaching and Translation” (跨文化中心), headed up by Professor Yang Guorong and myself. Our aim is to host small workshops and conferences on Chinese philosophy and philosophical translation (from ancient and modern Chinese to English), and help students and professors apply for funding to attend these workshops for durations of 2 weeks to 1 academic year depending on the applicant’s availability. This aspect of the Center is directed at graduate students and young professors, though undergraduate students will also be considered. We will be inviting guest professors to help conduct workshops and teach short-term courses in our English-language Masters and PhD programs. Some of our short-term professors include Graham Parkes, Roger Ames, Hans-Georg Moeller, and Geir Sigurðsson, and we are currently recruiting from five to ten more.

Thirdly, we are also considering applications for lecturers in philosophy department at East China Normal University. The concentration is entirely open. The applicants should specify whether they wish to teach in the department of Chinese, Western, or Marxist philosophy, or logics, ethics, aesthetics, religion, or philosophy of science. Courses may be instructed in English. (It is expected, however, that applicants who apply with a concentration in Chinese philosophy will be able to conduct courses in Mandarin; anyone who does comparative philosophy but cannot teach in Mandarin is encouraged to apply to teach in Western philosophy—where, of course, Chinese thinkers can be woven in and comparative courses can be taught.)

Applicants may indicate whether they wish to apply for 1, 2, or 3-year contracts. Those who complete a three-year contract and wish to renew their contract will be considered at the end of their three-year term.

However, while the concentration and duration are open, we are quite strict in our expectations of the applicant’s age and academic achievements. We are looking for young scholars (35 or younger), with several publications, and a history of active participation in academic conferences.

More information on ECNU’s Philosophy Department and graduate programs…

The Department of Philosophy at East China Normal University is a key center of the study and education of philosophy in mainland China. The distinguished faculty is comprised of 18 full professors, 17 associate professors, and a number of assistant professors. The department runs 4 Ph. D. programs (Chinese philosophy, Western philosophy, Marxist philosophy and Logic) and 9 master programs (Marxist philosophy, Chinese philosophy, Western philosophy, logic, ethics, philosophy of science and technology, history of natural science, religious studies, and philosophy of management). The department also has a Ministry of Education recognized undergraduate program for philosophy majors. Since 1995, the department’s Ph. D. and master programs have accepted students from around the globe, including the U.S.A., Switzerland, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan.

Feng Qi, the founder of the department, was a well-known philosopher and historian of Chinese philosophy. His work has been edited into 10-volumes where Feng Qi not only provides with a systematic understanding of Chinese philosophy from the very beginning to the 20th century, but also puts forward his own philosophical system, that is, the doctrine of wisdom. Thanks to Feng and his disciples, including Yang Guorong, GaoRuiquan and Chen Weiping, the department takes particular pride in its reputation in the study of Chinese philosophy and comparative study of Western and Chinese philosophy both in China and abroad. Its Chinese philosophy program has been twice (2001 and 2007) listed as a municipal level key discipline/area of study by the Municipality of Shanghai; it has been officially listed as a national level major area of study since 2007.

Administration Requirements

An international student, who has a bachelor degree in philosophy or other relative major, is allowed to apply for the master degree. An international student, who has a master degree in philosophy or other relative major, is allowed to apply for Ph. D. degree.

Programs in Detail

The 2-year MA program consists of 2 common courses (Chinese Language, Chinese Culture or Chinese Civilization; 7 credits), 3 required major courses (9 credits), 5 elective courses (10 credits) and a MA dissertation of 10,000-20,000 words in length. The students are required to choose 3 major elective courses in Chinese philosophy and 2 other courses given by anthropology, politics or other MA programs.
The 4-year Ph.D. program requires 15 credits course work and a Ph.D. dissertation of 40,000-50,000 words in length.
This program enlists highly qualified teachers whose focus is on the nature of philosophical problems and trains students how to utilize traditional Chinese resources to resolve contemporary philosophical problems. Through selected readings in the history of Chinese philosophy, this program’s courses helps students cultivate a specialized knowledge of Chinese philosophy and explore its significance for the overall advancement of contemporary philosophy.

Type of Course Course Name Credits Semester
Required major courses Professional Chinese for Chinese Philosophy 3
Fall or Spring
Selected Readings in Confucianism 3 Fall or Spring
Selected Readings in Daoism 3 Fall or Spring
Elective major courses (choose any 3) Neo-Taoism in the Wei Jin Period 2 Fall or Spring
Neo-Confucianism in the Song Period 2 Fall or Spring
Selected Topics in Chinese Buddhism 2 Fall or Spring
Selected Topics in Modern Chinese Philosophy 2 Fall or Spring
Metaphysics and Chinese Philosophy Tradition 2 Fall or Spring
Epistemology and Chinese Philosophy Tradition 2 Fall or Spring
Moral Philosophy and Chinese Philosophy Tradition 2 Fall or Spring
Linguistic Philosophy and Chinese Philosophy Tradition 2 Fall or Spring


ECNU’s faculty of Chinese philosophy has accumulated a powerful reserve of scholars, and has already completed the formation of its own style of research, and has a considerable academic influence inside and outside of China. The professors possess experience in research outside of the country and professional experience in designing English speaking courses about Chinese philosophy.

Professor Yang Guorong

Prof. Yang is a Chinese philosopher and a leading figure in the study of Chinese Philosophy in China today. He is entitled as Changjiang Professorship by the Education Ministry, China; he is also the President of the International Society for MetaphysicsISM.
Research Areas: metaphysics, ethics, the history of Chinese philosophy, and East/West comparative philosophy.
E-Mail: yangguorongecnu@163.com

Prof. Yang has published more than 15 books and 180 papers on classical Confucianism, neo-Confucianism, Daoism, modern Chinese thought, and several comparative studies of Chinese and Western philosophy, among other subjects. His works have been introduced and positively evaluated in Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (New York: Routledge, 2003). In the last decade, Yang has been developing his own philosophical system of a concrete metaphysics, mainly in his three books: A Treatise on Dao, Ethics and Being: Treatise on Moral Philosophy, and Accomplishing the Self and Accomplishing Things: The Genesis of a World of Meaning. As a critique of traditional metaphysics, Yang’s concrete metaphysics takes the doctrines of Aristotle, Kant, Hegel and even Heidegger as examples of what he calls abstract metaphysics, which, to a greater or lesser extent, attempt to establish some ultimate truth dissociated from the historical process of man’s knowing and practicing.

Professor Zong Desheng

Professor Zong obtained his Ph. D. in Philosophy in 1998 from Tulane University, New Orleans.
Research Areas: philosophy of language and meta-ethics.
  E-mail: dszong@philo.ecnu.edu.cn

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.

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 MohistWritings”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. He is also a professor of Chinese philosophy at New York University Shanghai.
Research Areas: metaphysics, epistemology and comparative philosophy
  E-mail: ecnuyu@hotmail.comzhyu@philo.ecnu.edu.cn

Yu’s Chinese publications include more than 50 articles in various academic journals and two books: 1) How is Metaphysical Wisdom Possible? (Shanghai: East China Normal University Press, 2000); 2) The Tacit Dimension of Human Knowledge (Beijing: Beijing University Press, 2012). He has also 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, etc.

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.
Research Areas: Neo-Confucianism, Confucian Ethics, Interpretation of classics.
-mail: xdfang@philo.ecnu.edu.cn

Prof. Fang has taught at Harvard University and Oxford University as a visiting professor. He has published many books and articles, including “Honoring the Virtuous Nature” and “Following the Knowledge”: Research on the Philosophical Thought of Wu Cheng ( Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2005) , The Painting Comes After the Plain Groundwork: The Interpretations and Philosophical Studies of the Classics (Beijing: Beijing University Press, 2012), Papers on Confucian Ethics (Shanghai: East China Normal University Press, 2015).

Dr. Paul Joseph D’Ambrosio
Paul J. D’Ambrosio is a “Morning Star” Scholar and Assistant Professor of Chinese Philosophy in the department of Philosophy at East China Normal University. Specializing in the pre-Qin, Wei-Jin, and Contemporary Chinese philosophy, he also teaches at Merrimack College (USA). Paul received his PhD in Philosophy from the National University of Ireland at Cork (2013). He has published more than twenty articles, chapters, and reviews, has translated several books on contemporary Chinese philosophy into English, and is the author (with Hans-Georg Moeller) of Genuine Pretending: On the Philosophy of the Zhuangzi (Columbia 2017), and is the editor (with Michael Sandel) of forthcoming volume Michael Sandel and Chinese Philosophy (Harvard 2017), and has recently completed another manuscript, 《伦理视域中得说谎、欺骗与假装:以先秦哲学为中心考察》(The Ethics of Lying, Deception, and Pretending in Early Chinese Philosophy).

Research areas: Chinese philosophy, comparative philosophy, ethics, Wei-Jin philosophy
E-mail: pauljdambrosio (at) hotmail (dot) com

December 1st, 2016 Posted by | China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Graduate study, Job Opening | 2 comments

2 Responses to ECNU grad programs, job openings, and Intercultural Center

  1. Tim Connolly says:

    Awesome work, Paul!

  2. Paul Joseph D'Ambrosio says:

    My apologies for not clarifying this in the description: neither the teaching positions at the department nor the English Language MA or PhD programs are open for Chinese citizens.


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