• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Non Language Asian Studies, Philosophy
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Esther Klein
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

This is an introductory course in Chinese philosophy. Drawing on the Chinese philosophical tradition from early Confucian and Daoist thought through to late imperial China, the course demonstrates that Chinese philosophical approaches are both interesting in their own right and potentially relevant to contemporary philosophical problems. Students will be introduced to some of the major Chinese philosophical ideas and concepts, with a focus on learning to accurately apply these ideas in real-world contexts. An understanding of the foundations of Chinese thought helps us to make explicit and self-conscious some of the radically different assumptions of Western intellectual traditions. It also provides background knowledge crucial to an informed understanding of many developments in modern and contemporary China.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts and approaches in Chinese philosophy;
  2. Accurately apply theoretical knowledge to empirical examples drawn from present-day issues;
  3. Compare philosophical thought developed in Chinese contexts with that of other intellectual traditions;
  4. Articulate and critique contrasting philosophical perspectives on a problem in the context of respectful peer interaction and debate;
  5. Create an effective and balanced presentation of a philosophical issue that employs resources from the Chinese philosophical tradition.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Weekly online preparation quizzes (15) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. Weekly tutorial participation and reflective writing (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. One presentation + peer review (15) [LO 4,5]
  4. 3 x Student’s choice of essay/podcast/video (any combination) + bibliography (60) [LO 1,2,3,5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Each week there will be one recorded lecture together with a weekly peer discussion, one optional forum or help session, and one remote (synchronous) or face-to-face tutorial. Students will be responsible for 2-3 hours worth of reading and preparation time per week in addition to watching the lecture and completing the preparation quiz in advance of tutorial. Chinese language ability is not required, nor is a background in philosophy. The total workload for the course is 130 hours over 12 weeks of class.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed at least 24 units of university courses.

Prescribed Texts

An anthology of readings compiled by the course lecturer. Supplementary materials may be added and students will also be provided with a bibliography of further useful sources. Readings will be available in English and (where possible) classical Chinese.

Preliminary Reading

This information will be provided in Wattle.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $3180
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $4890
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4557 22 Feb 2021 01 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021 28 May 2021 Online View

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