SHUN, Kwong-loi

Professor Shun Kwong-loi is currently Chair Professor of Philosophy, Sin Wai Kin Professor of Chinese Culture, and Head of New Asia College. He grew up in Hong Kong and received his B.A. in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Hong Kong in 1975. He taught high school mathematics for a number of years after graduation, simultaneously undertaking studies leading to an external B.A. in Philosophy from the University of London and an M. Phil. in Philosophy from the University of Hong Kong, both completed in 1978. He started the study of Chinese Philosophy at the New Asia Institute of Advanced Chinese Studies, attending classes by the late Professor Mou Zongsan. He then studied at Oxford University and received the B. Phil. in Philosophy in 1982, writing his thesis on Wittgenstein under the supervision of Professor Michael Dummett. He did his doctoral work at Stanford University and received the Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1986, writing his thesis on Mencius under the supervision of Professor David S. Nivison.

He took up an Assistant Professor position in ethics at UC Berkeley in 1986, and taught primarily ethics and Chinese philosophy. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1990, and then Professor of Philosophy in 1996. While at Berkeley, he was also appointed Assistant Dean of the College of Letters and Science in 1993, then Dean of Undergraduate Services in 1998, and then Dean of the Undergraduate Division in 2000. He left Berkeley in 2004 to join the University of Toronto as Professor of Philosophy and East Asian Studies, and as Vice President of the University of Toronto and Principal of the University of Toronto at Scarborough. He joined the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2007.

His main research project is a multivolume work in Confucian ethics that started in 1988; the originally planned three volume work has now expanded to five volumes. The goal is to start with close textual studies of early and later Confucian thought, and then transition to a primarily philosophical study of Confucian ethics, with close attention to the methodological issues involved. The first volume, Mencius and Early Chinese Thought, was published by Stanford University Press in 1997. A manuscript of the second volume, Zhu Xi and Later Confucian Thought (tentative title), has been completed and is currently under revision. The third volume, From Philology to Philosophy (tentative title), is close to completion and will focus on methodological issues in the transition from textual studies to philosophical explorations. The fourth volume, On Self and Self Transformation (tentative title), will discuss a central theme in Confucian moral psychology, taking into account contemporary western philosophical works. The fifth volume, A Study in Confucian Ethics (tentative title), will provide a primarily philosophical discussion of Confucian ethics.

He is currently on the editorial or advisory boards of a number of publications, including Comparative Philosophy, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Series in Chinese and Comparative Philosophy, Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies, Taiwan Journal of East Asian Studies, Journal of Chinese Philosophy and Culture, General Education Online, Education Journal, Journal of East-West Thought, and Bulletin of the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, International East-West Studies, Confucian Studies, New Asia Academic Journal. He was also on the editorial board of Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (Garland Publishing, Inc., 2003) and a consulting editor for the second edition of Encyclopedia of Philosophy (MacMillan, 2006).


Research Interests:
1. Chinese thought, with emphasis on Confucian thought.
2. Ethics, with emphasis on moral psychology.
3. Philosophy of action.
4. Philosophy of religion.




1. “Contextualizing Early Confucian Discourse: Comments on David B. Wong,” in Simon Haines & David Parker, eds., Chinese Philosophy and the Development of Compassion (under review).

2. “Three Kinds of Confucian Thought: Zhu Xi, Wang Yangming, and Dai Zhen,” forthcoming in conference proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Sinology, Academia Sinica.

3. “Ethical Self-Commitment and Ethical Self-Indulgence,” forthcoming in Brian Bruya, ed., Philosophical Challenge from China (MIT Press).

4. “Dai Zhen on Nature (Xing) and Pattern (Li),” forthcoming in Journal of Chinese Philosophy.

5. “On Reflective Equanimity: A Confucian Perspective”. forthcoming In Li Chenyang and Ni Peimin, eds., Moral Cultivation and Confucian Character: Engaging Joel J. Kupperman (State University of New York Press).

6. “Early Confucian Moral Psychology,” in Vincent Shen, ed., Dao Companion to Classical Confucian Philosophy (Springer, 2013).

7. “On Jing 敬: Thinking Through Tang Junyi on Chinese Culture in Diaspora,” in Chinese Studies (汉学研究), 31:2 (June 2013).

8. “Confucian Ethics,” International Encyclopedia of Ethics (John Wiley & Sons, 2013).

9. “The Philosophical Study of Chinese Thought,” in News and Views: The Journal of the International Academy for Philosophy, 3:1-2 (2011). Reprinted in Journal of East-West Thought, 1:2 (March, 2012).

10. “Wang Yangming on Self-Cultivation in Daxue,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy vol. 38, issue supplement s1 (December 2011)

11. 〈從儒家角度試論怒〉。收入汪文聖編:《漢語哲學新視域》。 台北:學生書局,2011。English version forthcoming as “On Anger – An Experimental Essay in Confucian Moral Psychology,” in David Jones & He Jinli, eds., Rethinking Zhu Xi: Emerging Patterns within the Supreme Polarity New York: State University of New York Press

12. ”Zhu Xi on the ‘Internal’ and the ‘External’: A Response to Chan Lee,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy vol. 37, no. 4 (2010): 639–654.

13. “Zhu Xi’s Moral Psychology,” in John Makeham, ed., Dao Companion to Neo-Confucian Philosophy, pp. 177–195. Dordrecht: Springer-Verlag, 2010,

14. “Purity, Moral Trials, and Equanimity,” in Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies, New Series, vol. 40, no. 2 (June 2010)

15. “Studying Confucian and Comparative Ethics,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy, vol. 36, no. 3 (September 2009) pp. 455–478. Translated as “儒家思想與比較倫理學的研究:方法論的反思” in Chinese Philosophy and Culture 《中國哲學與文化(第七輯):簡帛文獻與新啟示》 7 (2010):1–24.

16. “Wholeness in Confucian Thought: Zhu Xi on Cheng 誠, Zhong 忠, Xin 信, and Jing 敬” in On-cho Ng, ed., The Imperative of Understanding: Chinese Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, and Onto-Hermeneutics, pp. 261–272. New York: Global Scholarly Publications, 2008.

17. “Zhu Xi and the Lunyu” in David Jones, ed., Contemporary Encounters with the Analects, pp. 209–221. Chicago and La Salle, IL: Open Court Publishing Co., 2008.

18. Co-edited with Vincent Shen. Confucian Ethics in Retrospect and Prospect. 328 pp. Washington, DC: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2008.

19. “Purity in Confucian Thought: Zhu Xi on Xu, Jing, and Wu”, Kim Chong Chong and Yuli Liu, eds., Conceptions of Virtue: East and West (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 2006). Translated into Chinese as “Ru-xue si-xiang zhong di chun-cui-guan – Zhu Xi lun xu, jing yu si” 儒學思想中的「純粹」觀 – 朱熹論虛、靜與私 (“Purity in Confucian Thought: Zhu Xi on xu, jing and si”), Li Ming-hui & Chen Wei-fen, ed., Li-jie quan-shi yu ru-jia-chuan-tong: ge-an-pian《理解、詮釋與儒家傳統:個案篇》 (Understanding, Interpretation and the Confucian Tradition: Case Studies) (Taiwan: Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, 2008)

20. “Chinese Philosophy: Confucianism,” in Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2d. ed. (Macmillan, 2006).

21. “Mencius,” in Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2d. ed. (Macmillan, 2006).

22. “Mencius,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2005).

23. “Review of Effortless Action: Wu-wei as Conceptual Metaphor and Spiritual Ideal in Early China,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies (2005).

24. “Zhu Xi on Gong and Si,” Dao, Vol. V (2005).

25. “Mengzi lun renxing” 孟子論人性 (“Mencius on Human Nature”), James Behuniak Jr & Roger T. Ames eds., Mengzi xinxing zhi xue (Mencius’ Learning of Mental-Nature) (China: Social Sciences Academic Press, PRC, 2005). Chinese translation of “Mencius on Jen-hsing,” Philosophy East and West, Vol. 20 (1997).

26.Confucian Ethics: A Comparative Study of Self, Autonomy, and Community, co-edited with David B. Wong (Cambridge University Press, 2004).

27. “Concept of the Person in Early Confucian Thought,” David B. Wong & Kwong-loi Shun, ed., Confucian Ethics: A Comparative Study of Self, Autonomy and Community (Cambridge University Press, 2004). Translated into Chinese as “Jaoqi Rujia Sixiang Zhong Ren De Gainian” 早期儒家思想中人的概念, Jiang Xinyan, ed., Yingyu Shijie Zhong De Zhongguo Zhexue (Chinese Philosophy in the English Speaking World) (Beijing: Zhongguo Renmin Daxue Chubenshe, 2009).

28. “On the Idea of Axiology in Pre-Modern Chinese Philosophy,” Robin Wang, ed., Chinese Philosophy in an Era of Globalization. (State University of New York Press, 2004).

29. “Jen and Yi,” Encyclopedia of Religion (Macmillan, 2004).

30. ”Theories of Human Nature,” Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (Garland Publishing, Inc., 2003).

31. ”Moral Philosophy,” Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (Garland Publishing, Inc., 2003).

32. ”Moral Psychology,” Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (Garland Publishing, Inc., 2003).

33. ”Ch’eng (Wholeness, Sincerity),” Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (Garland Publishing, Inc., 2003).

34. ”Ch’eng-i (Making One’s Thoughts Sincere),” Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (Garland Publishing, Inc., 2003).

35. ”Chung (Conscientiousness) and Hsin (Trustworthiness),” Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (Garland Publishing, Inc., 2003).

36. ”Hsiao (Filial Piety),” Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (Garland Publishing, Inc., 2003).

37. ”Hsing (Human Nature),” Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (Garland Publishing, Inc., 2003).

38. ”Hsiu-shen (Self-Cultivation),” Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (Garland Publishing, Inc., 2003).

39. ”Ko-wu (Investigation of things) and Chih-chih (Extension of Knowledge),” Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (Garland Publishing, Inc., 2003).

40. ”Mencius,” in The World’s Great Philosophers (Blackwell Publishers, 2003). Reprint of “Mencius,” in Robert L. Arrington, ed., A Companion to the Philosophers (Blackwell Publishers, 1999).

41. ”Jen and Li in the Analects,” in Bryan W. Van Norden, ed., Confucius and the Analects: New Essays. (Oxford University Press, 2003). Reprint of “Jen and Li in the Analects,” in Philosophy East and West, Vol.43 (1993). Translated into Chinese as “Lunyu zhong de ren yu li” (論語中的仁與禮), Fan Xudong 方旭東 ed., Moral Philosophy and the Confucian Tradition 道德哲學與儒家傳統 (China, Shanghai: Huadong Shifang Daxue Chubenshe 華東師範大學出版社 2010)

42.Publications before 2003 are not listed