Institution: Huaqiao University

Position: Assistant Professor


I hold my doctorate degree in religious studies at Indiana University Bloomington and am now working as an assistant professor at Huaqiao University, Xiamen, China.
I am primarily interested in early Confucianism, contemporary philosophical ethics in the analytical tradition, theories about religion, and moral education. I am now working on a book manuscript comparing Mengzi’s and Hume’s ethical thoughts. In it, I refute the teleological and role ethical interpretations of Mengzi, argue that Mengzi’s thought is closer to Hume than to Aristotle, and Hume’s ethics, after borrowing elements of Mengzi’s thought, is immune to some prevalent postmodern critiques of enlightenment thinking. Put together, the Mengzian and Humean approach to virtue amounts to a non-Aristotelian virtue ethics that emphasizes the importance of relationship and emotions as embodied experience. It calls for a critical appreciation of Enlightenment philosophy that may inform our own understanding of the practical dimension of faith and doubt.
My next project is about Confucian spirituality in contemporary PRC. I focus on the self-representation and self-articulation of Confucian groups in urban areas and argue that the activities and worldviews of such groups mark the transition of Confucianism from an overarching sociopolitical framework to a religious movement exhibiting diverse commitments. Currently, I am most interested in the role played by new media in the process and the appropriation of the tradition by female practioners.

Meng Zhang