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Amy Olberding

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Amy Olberding

President's Associates Presidential Professor

Ph.D., Hawai'i
Research areas: Early Chinese Philosophy, Ethics

Phone: (405) 325-6834

My current research interests are largely concentrated on issues in ethics that focus on ordinary, prosaic human concerns and practices. My most recent projects attend to the moral aspects of mannerly social practices. In this work, I draw from classical Confucian sources to articulate the wider moral values and moral learning processes embedded in Confucian commitments to li, or manners and etiquette. Other recent work undertakes to address prosaic mannerly practices as these register in contemporary issues of social justice such as microinequities. A second strain in my most recent work is devoted to consideration of moral exemplars and, in particular, the use of moral exemplars in the Confucian text, the Analects. I 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.

Recent Courses

  • PHIL 1213 – Introduction to Ethics
  • PHIL/IAS 1223 – Introduction to Asian Philosophy
  • PHIL 3033 – Philosophy and Literature
  • PHIL/IAS 3343 – Chinese Philosophy
  • PHIL/IAS 3363 – Comparative Philosophy
  • PHIL 3723 – Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 3743 – Feminist Philosophy
  • PHIL 4343/5343 – Early Chinese Philosophy
  • PHIL 6393 – Seminar in Chinese Philosophy


  • Dao Annual Best Essay Award, 2013, for “Confucius’ Complaints and the Analects’ Account of the Good Life.” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 12.4 (2013): 417-440. 
  • 2009-2010 Howard Foundation Fellowship for "Exemplarism and the Analects"



  • "Degenerate Skepticism and the Thieves of Philosophy."  Essay blogged at  (.pdf)
  • “Etiquette: A Confucian Contribution to Moral Philosophy.”  Ethics 126.2 (2016): 422-446.
  • "Looking Philosophical: Bias, Self-Presentation, and Props." Hypatia 30.4(2015): 692-707. 
  • “Regret and Moral Maturity: A Response to Michael Ing and Manyul Im.” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 14.4 (2015): 579-587.
  • “It’s not Them, it’s You: A Case Study in the Exclusion of Non-Western Philosophy.” Comparative Philosophy 6.2 (2015): 14-34. (.pdf)
  • “A Sensible Confucian Perspective on Abortion.” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy14.2(2015): 235-253.
  • “From Corpses to Courtesy: Xunzi and the Defense of Etiquette.” Journal of Value Inquiry
     49(2015): 145-159.
  • Co-authored with Sherri Irvin and Stephen Ellis, “Best Practices for Fostering Diversity in Tenure-Track Searches.” American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy 13.2(2014): 27-36. 
  • “Subclinical Bias, Manners, and Moral Harm.” Hypatia 29.2(2014): 287-302.
  • “Perspectives on Moral Failure in the Analects.” In Amy Olberding, ed., Dao Companion to the Analects (New York: Springer Press, 2014).
  • “Confucius’ Complaints and the Analects’ Account of the Good Life.” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 12.4 (2013): 417-440. (.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.
  • “'Ascending the Hall’:  Demeanor and Moral Improvement in the Analects.” Philosophy East and West 59:4 (2009):503-522.
  • “Dreaming of the Duke of Zhou:  Exemplarism and the Analects.” Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35:4 (2008):625-639.
  • “'A little throat cutting in the meantime’:  Seneca’s Violent Imagery,” Philosophy and Literature 32 (2008):130-144.
  • “Sorrow and the Sage:  Grief in the Zhuangzi,” Dao:  A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 6:4 (2007):339-359.
  • “The Educative Function of Personal Style in the Analects,” Philosophy East and West 57:3 (2007):357-374.
  • “The Stout Heart: Seneca’s Strategy for Dispelling Grief,” Ancient Philosophy 25 (2005):1-14.
  • “'The Feel of Not to Feel it’: Lucretius’ Remedy for Death Anxiety,” Philosophy and Literature29 (2005):114-129.
  • “The Consummation of Sorrow: An Analysis of Confucius’ Grief for Yan Hui,”Philosophy East and West 54 (2004):279-301.