Lisa Raphals

Distinguished Professor, Chinese/Comparative Literature

Ph.D., Committee in Social Thought, University of Chicago, 1989

Office: HMNSS 2509
Email: lisa.raphals@ucr.edu


Lisa Raphals studies the cultures of early China and Classical Greece, with research and teaching interests across several areas: comparative philosophy, religion, history of science, and gender, with other interests in poetics and science fiction and media studies. She is the author of three books: Knowing Words: Wisdom and Cunning in the Classical Traditions of China and Greece (Cornell UP, 1992), Sharing the Light: Representations of Women and Virtue in Early China (SUNY Press, 1998) and What Country, a book of poems and translations (North and South, 1993).

Her representative articles include “Skeptical Strategies in the Zhuangzi and Theaetetus” (Philosophy East & West), “The Treatment of Women in a Second-Century Medical Casebook” (Chinese Science), “Arguments by Women in Early Chinese Sources” (Nan Nu, a gender studies journal), “Gender and Virtue in Greece and China” (Journal of Chinese Philosophy), “Chinese and Greek Calculations and Categories” (East Asian Science, Technology and Medicine), “Fate, Fortune, Chance and Luck in Chinese and Greek” (Philosophy East & West), and “Cordwainer Smith and the Soushenji: Comparative Perspectives on the Boundaries of ‘Humanity’” (in Dream Weavers: Globalization, Science Fiction, and the Cybernetic Revolution).

Professor Raphals is Book Review Editor ( East Asia ) for the journal Philosophy East & West. Some of her favorite courses to teach are “Rhetoric and Argumentation in China and Greece ,” “Engendering China: Women in Chinese History,” “Taoist Traditions,” “Medical Traditions in China and Greece ,” and “The Ancient Sciences Through Science Fiction.”

Lisa Raphals
Professor, Chinese/Comparative Literature


  • Ph.D. Committee on Social Thought 1989 University of Chicago, Illinois
  • M.A. Classics 1976 Boston College, Massachusetts
  • B.A. Psychology 1974 Clark University, Worchester, Massachusetts

Research Specialization

  • East-West comparative studies
  • Chinese
  • Greek
  • comparative philosophy and history of science.

Research Affiliations

  • Life Member, Clare Hall, Cambridge University, 1996-present
  • Visiting Fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge University, 1995
  • Exchange Scholar, Harvard University, 1984-87

Former Institution

Bard College, Annandale, New York



Sharing the Light: Representations of Women and Virtue in Early China. (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998.)

Knowing Words: Wisdom and Cunning in the Classical Traditions of China and Greece. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1992.)

What Country [original poems and translations from the Chinese, French and Greek]. (Twickenham, England: North and South Press, 1994.)

Articles and Contributions to Books:

Arguments by Women in Early Chinese Sources. (Forthcoming)

Gendered Virtue Reconsidered: Notes from the Warring States and Han. Confucianism and the Second Sex, Chenyang Li, ed. (LaSalle, IL: Open Court. Forthcoming)

A Woman Who Understood the Rites. Essays on the Analects of Confucius. Bryan W. Van Nordon, ed. (Oxford University Press. Forthcoming)

Science and Civilization in China. Volume 7, Part 1. Logic and Language, by Christoph Harbsmeier. (Cambridge, 1998)

The Treatment of Women in a Second-Century Medical Casebook.Chinese Science (1998) 7-28.

On Hui Shi. Free and Easy Wandering through the Zhuangzi. Roger T. Ames, ed. (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998)

The Chinese Classics. The International Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Routledge, 1998) 309-315.

Skeptical Strategies in the Zhuangzi and Theaetetus. Zhuangzi and Skepticism. P.J. Ivanhoe and Paul Kjellberg, ed. (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1996.) Reprinted, with minor revisions, from Philosophy East and West 44:3 (July 1994): 501-26.

Poetry and Argument in the Zhuangzi. Journal of Chinese Religions, Fall 1994. 22:103-116.

Reason, Spontaneity, and Awareness: A.C. Graham’s account of the Roots of Logic and Moral Action. Double Review of Disputers of the Tao: Philosophical Argument in Ancient China and Unreason within Reason: Essays on the Outskirts of Rationality, both by AC Graham (LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1989 and 1992, respectively) in Taoist Resources 4.2 (Dec. 1993): 53-60.

Book Reviews:

The Ways of Confucianism: Investigations in Chinese Philosophy, by David S. Nivison, Edited with an introduction by Byron W. Van Norden (La Salle, IL: Open Court Press 1996), in the Journal of Chinese Religions, Spring 2000, forthcoming.

The Original Analects Sayings of Confucius and His Successors. Translation and commentary by E. Bruce Brooks and A. Taeko Brooks (New York: Columbia University Presss, 1998), in International Studies in Philosophy, forthcoming.

Special issue of the Journal of Women’s History (Winter 1997). China Review International vol. 6.1 (1999): 137-139.

Adversaries and Authorities: Investigations into Ancient Greek and Chinese Science. By G.E.R Lloyd (Cambridge, 1996), in Journal of Asian Studies 57.4 (November 1998): 1132-33.

The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in China. By Francois Jullien. Translated by Janet Lloyd. (Zone Books, 1995), in Philosophy East & West 14.1 (January 1998): 170-173.

Heaven, Not Nature, in the Xunzi. Review of Nature and Heaven in the Xunzi: A Study of the Tian Lun by Edward J. Machle (SUNY, 1993) in Journal of Chinese Religions, 1996: 212-16.

Law and Morality in Ancient China: the Silk Manuscripts of Huang-Lao by R.P. Peerenboom (SUNY, 1993), in Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR) 17 (December 1995): 142-46.

A Language Theory of Chinese Thought. Review of A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought, by Chand Hansen (Oxford 1992) in The Journal of Religion 75.1 (January 1995): 80-89.

Unreason Within Reason: Essays on the Outskirts of Rationality, by A.C. Graham (LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1992), in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (BSOAS), 57.2 (1994).


  • Residential Fellow, center for the Study of Ideas and Society. Spring. 2001
  • (Offered) Senior Fellowship, Center for World Religions, Harvard University 1998-1999
  • Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Inter-University Program Fellowship 1993
  • University of Chicago, Center for East Asian Studies Fellowship 1988-89
  • Junior Fellowship nomination, Society of Fellows, Harvard University 1984, 1987
  • University of Chicago Tuition Fellowships 1982-85
  • Boston College Tuition Fellowships 1974-76