Welcome to the academic website of Chris Fraser, Richard Charles and Esther Yewpick Lee Chair in Chinese Thought and Culture in the Department of Philosophy and Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto.
My research specialization is in Chinese philosophy. I’m particularly interested in how early Chinese theories of mind, knowledge, and language intersect with contemporary epistemology, action theory, and ethics. Of late, I've also become interested in the history of Chinese political thought and its philosophical implications.
My latest book is Late Classical Chinese Thought, forthcoming from Oxford University press. Other recent publications include The Philosophy of the Mozi: The First Consequentialists (Columbia, 2016) and The Essential Mozi (Oxford, 2020). I am currently finishing up a manuscript entitled Zhuangzi: Ways of Wandering the Way, which I hope may appear in 2023. Other projects at various stages of development include a translation of Zhuangzi, a historical study of the development of the concept of fa 法 (standards, models, methods, laws) in the history of Chinese thought, a monograph on Zhuangzi and ethics, another on language and world in early Chinese thought, and a long-term project on sources of normativity in Chinese ethics, from early Daoist texts through the Qing dynasty thinker Dai Zhen.
A native of Canada, I grew up in Québec and Massachusetts but lived in Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, and Hong Kong from the 1980s until 2021. I hold degrees from Yale University, National Taiwan University, and the University of Hong Kong. Before embarking on a career in academia, I worked as a technical writer and editor in Taiwan’s electronics industry and taught English composition at two universities there.
Before joining the University of Toronto, I was Professor and Chair in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong, which I joined as Associate Professor in 2009. Previously I was Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 2001–2009 and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, Taipei, in 2000.
I have a wide range of philosophical interests but my publications have focused on early Chinese philosophy, particularly philosophy of mind, epistemology, action theory, and the various ways in which these fields intersect with ethics.
Photo credits: Chris Fraser (top), Jamin Asay (bottom)