Karyn Lai

Associate Professor

Dr Karyn Lai is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the School of Humanities and Languages. Her primary research area is in early (pre-Qin) Confucian and Daoist philosophies. She specialises in comparative Chinese-western philosophical research, drawing insights from Chinese philosophies to engage in debates in areas including moral philosophy, environmental ethics, reasoning and argumentation, and epistemology. Her books include:

- Lai, K. Introduction to Chinese Philosophy (2017, 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press)

- Lai, K., Benitez, R and Kim, HJ (eds.) Cultivating a Good Life in Early Chinese and Ancient Greek Philosophy: Perspectives and Reverberations (2018, London: Bloomsbury Press).

- Lai, K. and Chiu, WW (eds.) Skill and Mastery: Philosophical Stories from the Zhuangzi, (forthcoming, 2019, London: Rowman and Littlefield International).

Karyn is editor of the Chinese Comparative Philosophy section, Philosophy Compass (Wiley-Blackwell), Co-editor of the Chinese philosophy section, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and Associate Editor of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

    Books
    add
    Lai K, 2016, Learning from Chinese Philosophies, Routledge, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781315591902
    2016
    Lai KL, 2008, Introduction to Chinese Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511800832
    2008
    Lai KL, (ed.), 2007, New Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Chinese Philosophy, 1, Blackwell Publishers, Massachusetts, USA,
    2007
    Lai KL, 2006, Learning from Chinese Philosophy: Ethics of Interdependent and Contextualised Self, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, UK, http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&title_id=4719&edition_id=6899&calcTitle=1
    2006
    Book Chapters
    add
    Lai K, 2019, 'The Cicada-Catcher: Learning for Life', in Lai K; Chiu WW (ed.), Skill and Mastery Philosophical Stories from the Zhuangzi, Rowman and Littlefield International, London, pp. 143 - 162, https://www.rowmaninternational.com/book/skill_and_mastery/3-156-69c8f1cc-26a8-4f2f-93c9-c833de2da7a7
    2019
    Lai K, 2018, 'Learning to be Reliable: Confucius' Analects', in Lai K; Benitez R; Kim HJ (ed.), Cultivating a Good Life in Early Chinese and Ancient Greek Philosophy : Perspectives and Reverberations, Bloomsbury Publishing, London and NY, pp. 193 - 207, https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/cultivating-a-good-life-in-early-chinese-and-ancient-greek-philosophy-9781350049574/
    2018
    Lai K, 2018, 'Learning to be Reliable: Confucius' Analects', in Lai K; Benitez R; Kim HJ (ed.), Cultivating a Good Life in Early Chinese and Ancient Greek Philosophy : Perspectives and Reverberations, edn. 1, Bloomsbury Publishing, London and NY, pp. 193 - 207,
    2018
    LAI K, 2018, 'Zhuangzi’s suggestiveness: Sceptical questions', in Hetherington (ed.), What Makes a Philosopher Great? Thirteen Arguments for Twelve Philosophers, Routledge, New York, pp. 30 - 47, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781315676999
    2018
    Lai KL, 2016, 'Close Personal Relationships and the Situated Self: The Confucian Analects and Feminist Philosophy', in Pang-white A (ed.), The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy and Gender, edn. Bloomsbury Research Handbooks, Bloomsbury Publishing, London and New York, pp. 111 - 126, http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-bloomsbury-research-handbook-of-chinese-philosophy-and-gender-9781472569868/
    2016
    Lai K, 2016, 'Confucian Reliability and Epistemic Agency: Engagements with Feminist Epistemology', in Foust MA; Tan SH (ed.), FEMINIST ENCOUNTERS WITH CONFUCIUS, BRILL, pp. 101 - 126, http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/978900433219_006
    2016
    Lai KL, 2016, 'Confucian Business Ethics: Reliability, Relationships, and Responsiveness', in Sison AJ G (ed.), Handbook of Virtue Ethics in Business and Management, edn. 1, Springer, Netherlands, pp. 1 - 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6729-4_23-1
    2016
    Lai K, 2016, 'Confucian reliability and epistemic agency: Engagements with feminist epistemology', in Modern Chinese Philosophy, pp. 101 - 126,
    2016
    Lai KL, 2016, 'Confucian Reliability and Epistemic Agency: Engagements with Feminist Epistemology', in Tan S; Foust M (ed.), Feminist Encounters with Confucius, Brill, Leiden, Boston, pp. 101 - 126, http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/9789004332119_006
    2016
    Lai KL, 2015, 'Cosmology, Divinity and Self-Cultivation in Chinese Thought', in Oppy G (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion, Routledge, Oxon and New York, pp. 93 - 113, https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/doi/10.4324/9781315719412.ch7
    2015
    Lai KL; Hetherington SC, 2015, 'Knowing-How and Knowing-To', in Bruya B (ed.), The Philosophical Challenge from China, MIT Press, Massachusetts, pp. 279 - 302, http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/philosophical-challenge-china
    2015
    Lai KL, 2014, 'Daoism and Confucianism', in Liu X (ed.), Dao Companion to Daoist Philosophy, Springer, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, New York, pp. 489 - 511, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2927-0_21
    2014
    Lai K, 2014, 'Ren: An Exemplary Life', in Olberding A (ed.), DAO COMPANION TO THE ANALECTS, SPRINGER-VERLAG BERLIN, pp. 83 - 94, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-7113-0_5
    2014
    Lai KL, 2014, 'Dialogue and epistemological humility', in Seibt J; Garsdal J (ed.), How Is Global Dialogue Possible?, edn. Process Thought, vol 24, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 69 - 84, http://www.degruyter.com/view/product/211449
    2014
    Lai KL, 2014, 'When good relationships are not enough for business: understanding character in Confucian ethics', in Li C; Ni P (ed.), Moral Cultivation and Confucian Character, State University of New York Press, Albany, New York, pp. 235 - 250, http://www.sunypress.edu/p-5917-moral-cultivation-and-confucian.aspx
    2014
    Lai KL, 2014, 'Ren 仁: An Exemplary Life', in Olberding A (ed.), Dao Companion to the Analects, edn. 1st, Springer, Heidelberg, New York, London, pp. 83 - 94, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-7113-0
    2014
    Lai KL, 2013, 'Environmental concern: Can humans avoid being partial? Epistemological awareness in the Zhuangzi', in Meinert Carmen (ed.), Nature, Environment and Culture in East Asia: The Challenge of Climate Change, Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands, pp. 69 - 82, http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/9789004253049_005
    2013
    Lai KL, 2007, 'Understanding Change: the interdependent self in its environment', in Lai K (ed.), New Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Chinese Philosophy, edn. SUPPL., Blackwell Publishers, Massachusetts, USA, pp. 81 - 99, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6253.2007.00454.x
    2007
    Lai KL, 2003, 'Confucian Moral Cultivation: Some Parallels with Musical training', in Chong K-C; Tan S-H; Tan CL (ed.), The Moral Circle and the Self: Chinese and Western Approaches, edn. Original, Open Court, Chicago and La Salle, Illinois, pp. 107 - 139, http://www.opencourtbooks.com/books_n/moral_circle_and_self.htm
    2003
    Lai KL, 2001, 'Classical China', in Dale Jamieson (ed.), A Companion to Environmental Philosophy, Blackwell Publishers, USA, UK, pp. 21 - 36, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470751664.ch2
    2001
    'Legalist Philosophy', in An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, pp. 163 - 187, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781316218990.009
    'Early Mohist Philosophy', in An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, pp. 73 - 91, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781316218990.006
    'The Zhuangzi', in An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, pp. 188 - 223, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781316218990.010
    'The Yijing and Its Place in Chinese Philosophy', in An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, pp. 224 - 264, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781316218990.011
    'Chinese Buddhism', in An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, pp. 265 - 304, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781316218990.012
    'Confucius and the Analects', in An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, pp. 20 - 40, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781316218990.004
    'Human Nature and Cultivation in Confucian Philosophy: Mencius and Xunzi', in An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, pp. 41 - 72, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781316218990.005
    'Daoism and the Daodejing', in An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, pp. 92 - 129, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781316218990.007
    'The Mingjia and the Later Mohists', in An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, pp. 130 - 162, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781316218990.008
    Creative Written Works
    add
    Lai K, 2019, Nature in Chinese Philosophy, Heaven & earth in Chinese art: treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, Cao Y, (ed.), Art Gallery of New South Wales, https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/shop/department/Books/item/9781741741438/
    2019
    Edited Books
    add
    Lai K; Chiu WW, (eds.), 2019, Skill and Mastery: Philosophical Stories from the Zhuangzi, 1st, London,
    2019
    Lai K; Benitez R; Kim HJ, (eds.), 2018, Cultivating a Good Life in Early Chinese and Ancient Greek Philosophy: Perspectives and Reverberations, 1st, Bloomsbury, London,
    2018
    Journal articles
    add
    Lai KL, 2019, 'Emotional Attachment and Its Limits: Mengzi, Gaozi and the Guodian Discussions', Frontiers of Philosophy in China, vol. 14, pp. 132 - 151, http://dx.doi.org/10.3868/s030-008-019-0008-5
    2019
    Lai K, 2019, 'Emotional Attachment and Its Limits: Mengzi, Gaozi and the Guodian Discussions', Frontiers of Philosophy in China, vol. 14, pp. 132 - 151,
    2019
    Lai KL, 2017, 'Reflections on Analogical Thinking: The Centrality of Discretion', Australasian Philosophical Review Vol. 1 , Iss. 3,2017, vol. 1, pp. 229 - 235, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/24740500.2017.1379866
    2017
    Lai K, 2016, 'Response to Frank Perkins', Dao, vol. 15, pp. 143 - 144, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11712-015-9482-6
    2016
    Lai K, 2016, 'Response to Frank Perkins', Dao, pp. 1 - 2, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11712-015-9482-6
    2016
    Lai K, 2016, 'Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy', DAO-A JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY, vol. 15, pp. 135 - 139, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11712-015-9480-8
    2016
    Lai KL; CHIU WW, 2013, 'Ming in the Zhuangzi Neipian: Enlightened Engagement', Journal of Chinese Philosophy, vol. 40, pp. 527 - 543, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1540-6253.12052
    2013
    Hetherington SC; Lai KL, 2012, 'Practising to Know: Practicalism and Confucian Philosophy', Philosophy, vol. 87, pp. 375 - 393, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031819112000289
    2012
    Lai KL, 2012, 'Knowing to Act in the Moment: Examples from Confucius’ Analects', Asian Philosophy, vol. 22, pp. 347 - 364, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09552367.2012.729324
    2012
    Lai KL, 2011, 'Assessing participation skills: online discussions with peers', Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 37, pp. 933 - 947, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2011.590878
    2011
    Lai KL, 2009, 'Ethics Without Principles', Sophia, vol. 48, pp. 77 - 84, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11841-008-0086-z
    2009
    Lai KL, 2008, 'Learning from the Confucians: Learning from the past', Journal of Chinese Philosophy, vol. 35, pp. 97 - 119, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6253.2007.00465.x
    2008
    Lai KL, 2007, 'Confucianism and women: A philosophical interpretation', China Journal, vol. 57, pp. 226 - 228, http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/tcj.57.20066284
    2007
    Lai KL, 2007, 'Ziran and Wuwei in the Daodejing: an ethical assessment', Dao: a journal of comparative philosophy, vol. 6, pp. 325 - 337, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11712-007-9019-8
    2007
    Pfister LF, 2007, 'Modern and contemporary Chinese hermeneutics - Editor's introduction', JOURNAL OF CHINESE PHILOSOPHY, vol. 34, pp. 3 - 4, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6253.2007.00398.x
    2007
    Lai KL, 2007, 'Review of Antonio S. Cua's Human Nature, Ritual, and History: Studies in Xunzi and Chinese Philosophy', Sophia, vol. 45, pp. 203 - 205, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11841-007-0025-4
    2007
    Lai KL, 2007, 'Understanding Confucian Ethics: reflections on moral development', Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics, vol. 9, pp. 21 - 27
    2007
    Lai KL, 2006, 'Philosophy and Philosophical reasoning in the Zhuangzi: Dealing with Plurality', Journal of Chinese Philosophy, vol. 33, pp. 365 - 374, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6253.2006.00365.x
    2006
    Lai KL, 2006, 'Li in the analects: Training in moral competence and the question of flexibility', Philosophy East and West, vol. 56, pp. 69 - 84, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/pew.2006.0001
    2006
    Lai K, 2003, 'Conceptual Foundations for Environmental Ethics', Environmental Ethics, vol. 25, pp. 247 - 266, http://dx.doi.org/10.5840/enviroethics200325317
    2003
    Lai KL, 2003, 'Critical Notice of Joel Kupperman, Learning from Asian Philosophy', Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 81.1, pp. 126 - 133, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/715690945
    2003
    Lai KL, 2003, 'Conceptual Foundations for Environmental Ethics: A Daoist Perspective', Environmental Ethics, vol. 25, pp. 247 - 266, http://dx.doi.org/10.5840/enviroethics200325317
    2003
    Lai KL, 2000, 'The Daodejing: Resources for Contemporary Feminist Thinking', Journal of Chinese Philosophy, vol. 27, pp. 131 - 153, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0301-8121.00009
    2000
    Lai K, 2000, 'Introduction: Feminism and Chinese philosophy', Journal of Chinese Philosophy, vol. 27, pp. 127 - 130, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0301-8121.00008
    2000
    Lai KL, 1999, 'Biographical dictionary of Chinese women: The Qing Period, 1644-1911', JOURNAL OF CHINESE PHILOSOPHY, vol. 26, pp. 251 - 255, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6253.1999.tb00541.x
    1999
    Lai KL, 1995, 'Confucian moral thinking', Philosophy East and West, vol. 45, pp. 249 - 272, http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1399567
    1995
    Other
    add
    Lai K, 2013, Chinese Language Translation of K Lai (2008) An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy (剑桥中国哲学导论) by Liu Liangjian, Beijing :Shi jie tu shu chu ban gong si (世界图书出版公司), Beijing
    2013
    Lai K, 2013, Chinese Language Translation of K Lai (2008) An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy (剑桥中国哲学导论) by Liu Liangjian, Beijing :Shi jie tu shu chu ban gong si (世界图书出版公司), Beijing
    2013
    Theses / Dissertations
    add
    Sung HC, 2010, Chinese philosophy
    2010

    Awards and Nominations

    • Nominee for Best HDR Supervision Award, Dean’s Research Award, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, 2018
    • Representative of the Australian Academy of Humanities (AAH) at the joint conference and MOU treaty with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in Beijing, China, June 2014.
    • Dean’s Award for the Best Contribution to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2011, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW. (Lai, Karyn. 2011. Assessing participation skills: online discussions with peers. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education IFirst: 1-15. (26 Jul 2011) DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2011.590878.)
    • Anthony Mason Fellow, UNSW. Fellowship awarded for international exchange at Beijing University. Feb-July 1999.
    Subject areas