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Dr Philippe Major

Lecturer in Philosophy

County South



Office Hours:

Wednesdays 15:00–17:00

Please contact me if you would like to arrange a meeting outside these hours

PhD supervision

I am open to supervising students working on Chinese philosophy, comparative philosophy, and topics related to epistemic authority and hegemony.


I work on the history of Chinese philosophy, with a particular focus on the 20th century. My work adopts interdisciplinary resources (sociology of philosophy, discourse analysis, and intellectual history) to address issues related to epistemic hegemony, alternative epistemologies, alternative modernity, and the exclusion of Chinese traditions from the philosophy curriculum.


My first book, Confucian Iconoclasm: Textual Authority, Modern Confucianism, and the Politics of Antitradition in Republican China (SUNY Press: 2023), provides a new account of the emergence of modern Confucian philosophy in Republican China (1912–1949) that challenges the assumption that Confucianism is traditionalist by nature. I argue that a Confucian form of iconoclastic philosophy emerged in the first half of the 20th century to engage in a politics of antitradition aimed at the monopolisation of intellectual commodities associated with universality, autonomy, and liberty.


I am currently working on my second book, which draws resources from sociology of knowledge and the work of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe to address the topic of epistemic hegemony in philosophy. The project seeks to enlarge the recent debates on the exclusion on non-Western traditions from the curriculum by shedding light on patterns and practices of resistance to the hegemony of Euro-American philosophical knowledge production in modern Confucian philosophy written in Taiwan and Hong Kong during the 1950s and 1960s.

Career Details

Before joining Lancaster University in 2024, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for European Global Studies of the University of Basel (2019–2023), working on a Swiss National Science Foundation research project that drew resources from the field of Sociology of Philosophy to look at Confucian philosophy in the 20th century. Prior to that, I was a postdoctoral fellow in the Sinology department of KU Leuven (2018–19) working on modern Confucian philosophy during the Cold War period. In 2017–18, I was a doctoral research fellow at the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy at Academia Sinica in Taipei.


I have a PhD in Philosophy from National University of Singapore, where I wrote my thesis under the supervision of Professor Tan Sor-hoon. I did my MA in History at National Taiwan University under the supervision of Professor Wu Chan-liang. I have a BA in History from University of Québec in Montréal.  


PhD, Philosophy, National University of Singapore

MA, History, National Taiwan University

BA, History, University of Québec in Montréal

Current Teaching

PHIL 100 Block on Chinese Philosophy

PPR 218 Ethics and Politics of Knowledge

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