Spring 2022 - PHIL 342 D100

Topics in Asian Philosophy (3)

Classical Chinese Philosophy

Class Number: 7363

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
    WMC 2507, Burnaby

    Th 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    WMC 2507, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    One prior philosophy course (not including PHIL 110, PHIL 105, PHIL 310, PHIL 314, or PHIL 315). (This prerequisite may be waived in some cases, at the discretion of the instructor.)



A discussion of philosophical issues raised by works of Asian philosophy, either historical or contemporary. This may include classical Chinese philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and/or other Asian philosophical traditions. May be repeated for credit. Students who have taken PHIL 322 in Spring 2020 or Spring 2021, PHIL 333 in Summer 2015, or PHIL 357 in Fall 2020, under the same topic may not take this course for further credit.


Human Nature in Classical Chinese Philosophy

This course provides a survey of classical Chinese Philosophy (specifically Confucianism) from the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, with a focus on the topics of human nature and self-cultivation. Readings include selections from The Analects, Mencius, and Xunzi, alongside other relevant texts and secondary literature. Goals of the course include: learning how to approach historical texts; recognizing and assessing philosophical arguments; and thinking about the role of individuals and government in society. No knowledge of any Chinese language is necessary.



Students may repeat this course for further credit under a different topic. Students who have taken PHIL 322 History of Ethics in Spring 2020 may not take this course for further credit (that offering of PHIL 322 dealt with the same topic: Classical Chinese Philosophy).


  • Group commentaries 25%
  • Individual commentaries 25%
  • Paper, including proposal (5%), presentation (5%), and final draft (40%) 50%


Course delivery: In person



Philip Ivanhoe and Bryan Van Norden, Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy 2nd edition (Indianapolis: Hackett), 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0872207806

Bryan Van Norden, Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy (Indianapolis: Hackett), 2011. ISBN-13: 978-1603844680

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at philmgr@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

New elective grade policy : P/CR/NC, pilot project for 2021 and Spring 2022. List of exclusions for the new policy. Specifically for Philosophy: 

  • Students can use a P or CR to satisfy any requirement for a major, joint major, honours, or minor in Philosophy (with the exception of Honours tutorials).
  • Students can use a P or CR to satisfy any prerequisite requirement for any PHIL course.
  • Students can use a P (but not a CR) to satisfy any requirement for the Ethics Certificate, or the Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate.
  • Philosophy Majors and Honours students can use a P (but not a CR) to satisfy any WQB requirement.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.