Welcome to the academic website of Chris Fraser. As of August 1, 2023, I will be moving to the Chinese University of Hong Kong, initially as Vice-Chancellor Visiting Professor in the Department of Philosophy.
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 been working in two further areas, the history of Chinese political thought and sources of normativity in Song, Ming, and Qing dynasty thought, with a special focus on Dai Zhen.
My most recent book is Late Classical Chinese Thought (Oxford, 2023). Two new books in the pipeline are Zhuangzi: An Annotated Translation and Zhuangzi: Ways of Wandering the Way, both forthcoming from Oxford University Press, probably in 2024. Other recent books include The Philosophy of the Mozi: The First Consequentialists (Columbia, 2016) and The Essential Mozi (Oxford, 2020).
Further projects at various stages of development include 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 to Qing dynasty thought.
Although originally from Canada and the United States, I have lived most of my life in Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, and Hong Kong, which I consider home, having spent the bulk of my time here since the 1990s. 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.
From 2021–2023 I held the 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, where I was also affiliated with the Department for the Study of Religion and served as acting director of the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies. Previously, I was Professor and Chair in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong, which I joined as Associate Professor in 2009. Before that, 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.