Feminist Encounters with Confucius


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This work builds on earlier works, which defend Confucianism against charges of sexism and present interpretations of Confucianism compatible with Feminism, but contributors go beyond the much discussed care ethics, and common arguments of how ren (humaneness) can ground an egalitarian humanism that include gender equality. Besides ethics and political philosophy topics, this volume includes discussions in other philosophical areas such as epistemology, metaphysics, and applied philosophy. Through the encounter of Feminism and Confucius’s perspectives, each contributor generates novel answers to the questions addressed. In some cases, authors raise new questions about the chosen topic, inadequacies in how it has been addressed in previous Confucian or Feminist discourse, and/or challenges for either or both Confucianism and Feminism.

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Mathew A. Foust teaches Philosophy and East Asian Studies at Central Connecticut State University. He is author of Loyalty to Loyalty: Josiah Royce and the Genuine Moral Life and several articles on Asian and comparative philosophy.
Sor-hoon Tan teaches Philosophy at the National University of Singapore. She is editor of Challenging Citizenship and the Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy Methodologies, author of Confucian Democracy and several articles on comparative moral and political philosophy.
"All essays are well-argued contributions to a debate that reaches far beyond the academic realms of comparative philosophy." - Barbara Hendrischke, University of Sydney, in: Religious Studies Review, 43.4 (2017)
"Foust and Tan's Feminist Encounters with Confucius provides an entry point for meaningful encounters between the feminist community writ large and Confucianism, an intellectual tradition that has touched countless lives in Asia throughout the ages, yet still remains at the margins of the Western intellectual world. [...] each chapter goes beyond a simple repudiation of the Confucian sexist past, teasing out, both theoretically and practically, novel possibilities in various Confucian concepts in response to feminist issues. These new possibilities then in turn enrich both feminism and Confucianism as each ingredient is enhanced and its efficacy actualized in a harmonious culinary creation." - Li-Hsiang Lisa Rosenlee, in: Hypatia Reviews Online

Feminist Encounters with Confucius is the witness to and the cumulation of recent scholarly engagement between feminism and Confucianism. [...] By engaging with key issues in feminist philosophy such as standpoint theory and theories of relationality, and by pressing contemporary subjects such as bioethics, domestic violence, and ecological crisis, the authors of the volume have opened up a new discursive space for dialogue and productive research. [...] The significance of this brilliant volume lies not only in the seriousness and depth of its contributions, but also in the diversity of the authors' approaches. This volume is exemplary, and one hopes for similar endeavors in the future."
-Anna Sun, Duke University, in Reading Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion

"To sum up, this long-awaited volume has provided new materials, perspectives, and methods in discussing the relations between Confucianism and feminism. It avoids the illusion that Confucianism is one thing. As a groundbreaking work, it deserves to be read by anyone interested in Confucian ethics, feminist epistemology, Confucian elite women, and tiger mothering." -Zhang Lili, in Frontiers of Philosophy in China
Introduction 1
Mathew A. Foust and Sor-hoon Tan
1 Confucius and the Four Books for Women (Nü Sishu «女四書») 14
Ann A. Pang-White
2 Confucian Mothering: The Origin of Tiger Mothering? 37
Ranjoo Seodu Herr
3 Beyond Sexism: The Need for an Intersectional Approach to Confucianism 66
George Wrisley and Samantha Wrisley
4 Confucian Reliability and Epistemic Agency: Engagements with Feminist Epistemology 95
Karyn Lai
5 Role Epistemology: Confucian Resources for Feminist Standpoint Theory 121
Kevin DeLapp
6 How Relational Selfhood Rearranges the Debate between Feminists and Confucians 141
Andrew Komasinski and Stephanie Midori Komashin
7 Confucian Ethics and Care: An Amicable Split? 165
Andrew Lambert
8 Confucian Role Ethics in the 21st Century: Domestic Violence, Same-sex Marriage, and Christian Family Values 190
Sarah A. Mattice
9 Contemporary Ecofeminism and Confucian Cosmology 218
Taine Duncan and Nicholas S. Brasovan
Index 244
Scholars of Confucianism, Feminists, comparative philosophers, graduates and senior undergraduates in Asian Studies, China, Chinese philosophy, Confucianism, Cultural Studies, East-West comparative studies, Feminism, Religious Studies and Women & Gender Studies.
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