Amy Olberding Associate Professor
Ph.D., Hawai'i
Research areas: Early Chinese Philosophy, Ethics

(405) 325-6834
office hours


My research interests are largely concentrated on pre-Qin Chinese philosophy.  My work in Chinese philosophy focuses on ethical issues, particularly as they feature in the Analects.  My research foci have included philosophical approaches to mortality and I have been primarily interested in Confucian efforts to render bereavement an occasion for ethical mastery, as well as responses to these efforts by critics of Confucianism.  More recently, I have focused on the role of moral exemplars in the Analects and have been particularly interested in developing an account of the ethics of the Analects that foregrounds the text’s narrative depictions of moral exemplars and mines these for understanding the moral sensibility limned in the text.  In addition to early Chinese philosophy, I have occasionally also worked on Roman philosophy and Seneca is a particular favorite.  I am also currently in the early stages of developing projects that address the intersections of morality and conventional good manners. 

Recent courses:

Phil 1203 – Human Destiny
Phil 1223 – Introduction to Asian Philosophy
Phil 3033 – Philosophy and Literature
Phil 3343 – Chinese Philosophy
Phil 3743 – Feminist Philosophy
Phil 3811 – Writing Workshop for Philosophy Majors
Phil 4900/5900 – Early Chinese Philosophy
Phil 6393 – Seminar in Chinese Philosophy


2009-2010 Howard Foundation Fellowship for "Exemplarism and the Analects"

Recent work:

Click here for full CV (.pdf)

Mortality in Traditional Chinese ThoughtMortality in Traditional Chinese Thought

Moral Exemplars in the Analects:  The Good Person is That. Routledge, 2011.

Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought.  Co-edited with Philip J. Ivanhoe.  State University of New York Press, 2011.

“Confucius’ Complaints and the Analects’ Account of the Good Life.”  Forthcoming in Dao:  A Journal of Comparative Philosophy. (.pdf)

“'I Know Not “Seems”’:  Grief for Parents in the Analects.”  In Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought, Amy Olberding and Philip J. Ivanhoe (eds.), State University of New York Press. (.doc)

“'Ascending the Hall’:  Demeanor and Moral Improvement in the Analects.” Philosophy East and West 59:4 (2009):503-522. (.doc

“Dreaming of the Duke of Zhou:  Exemplarism and the Analects.” Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35:4 (2008):625-639. (.doc)

“'A little throat cutting in the meantime’:  Seneca’s Violent Imagery,” Philosophy and Literature 32 (2008):130-144. (.doc)

“Sorrow and the Sage:  Grief in the Zhuangzi,” Dao:  A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 6:4 (2007):339-359. (.doc)

“The Educative Function of Personal Style in the Analects,” Philosophy East and West 57:3 (2007):357-374. (.doc)

“The Stout Heart:  Seneca’s Strategy for Dispelling Grief,” Ancient Philosophy 25 (2005):1-14. (.doc)

“'The Feel of Not to Feel it’:  Lucretius’ Remedy for Death Anxiety,” Philosophy and Literature 29 (2005):114-129. (.doc)

“The Consummation of Sorrow:  An Analysis of Confucius’ Grief for Yan Hui,” Philosophy East and West 54 (2004):279-301. (.doc)

Works in progress:

Dao Companion to the AnalectsEdited volume, under contract with Springer Press.

“Perspectives on Moral Failure in the Analects.”  To be included in Dao Companion to the Analects.”  Draft complete.

“Subclinical Bias, Manners, and Moral Harm.”  Draft complete. (.pdf)

“From Corpses to Courtesy:  Xunzi and the Defense of Etiquette.”