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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


My research is largely concentrated on the ethical aspects of ordinary life, especially as these feature as prominent concerns in early Confucianism. My most recent book, The Wrong of Rudeness, considers just what might tempt us to rudeness and incivility, and reflects on the moral, social, and political reasons we shouldn’t be easy and free with rudeness and incivility. In addition to the everyday ethics of interpersonal interactions, I am interested in how role models, or exemplars, work to inform both moral learning and abstract moral reasoning. Some of my work seeks to examine early Confucian sources and their robustly emulation based orientation, seeking to frame early Chinese moral discourse with reference to exemplars. Finally, I am interested in early Chinese debates about death, grief, and mourning, especially as these offer novel perspectives not commonly found in western-lineage philosophical tradition.

My personal website can be found here:

Recent Courses

  • PHIL 1213 – Introduction to Ethics
  • PHIL/IAS 1223 – Introduction to Asian Philosophy
  • PHIL 3033 – Philosophy and Literature
  • PHIL 3243 – Civility
  • 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"
  • OU Arts and Humanities Faculty Fellowship, Fall 2017. 



  • "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.
  • “The Problem and Promise of Li 禮.”  James Behuniak, Ian Sullivan, and Joshua Miller, eds., One Corner of the Square (Honolulu:  University of Hawai’i Press).  Forthcoming.
  • “Other People Die and That is the Problem.”  In Alexus McLeod, ed., Chinese Ethics and Political Philosophy (New York:  Bloomsbury Press, 2019). 
  • “Philosophical Exclusion and Conversational Practices.” Philosophy East and West 67.4 (2017): 1023-1038. 
  • “Rejoinder to Eric Schliesser.” Philosophy East and West 67.4 (2017): 1044-1048.
  • "Martha and the Masters:  Virtuous Domestic Aesthetic Activity.” Dao:  A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 15 (2016): 257-271.
  • “Chinese Philosophy and Wider Philosophical Discourses:  Including Chinese Philosophy in General Audience Philosophy Journals.” Newsletter of the APA Committee on Asian and Asian-American Philosophies and Philosophers 15.2 (2016): 2-10.