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Dr Jingyi Jenny Zhao publishes monograph Aristotle and Xunzi on Shame, Moral Education, and the Good Life

1 July 2024 Fellows

Needham Research Fellow Dr Jingyi Jenny Zhao has recently published her monograph on a cross-cultural, comparative study of the emotions. Dr Zhao has produced the first major work that takes two philosophers from the ancient Greek and early Chinese traditions to stimulate discussion of an interdisciplinary nature on the rich and complex topic of the emotions–in particular, of shame. It features comparative analysis of Greek and Chinese texts while bringing the ancient materials to bear on modern controversies such as the role of shame in moral education and social cohesion. Dr Zhao was also recently interviewed by The Guardian on this topic.

About the monograph:

Although unalike in their social-historical and intellectual backgrounds, Aristotle and Xunzi bear striking similarities in several respects: they both conceptualize humans as essentially members of communities, as having a unique set of characteristics that set them apart from other living things, and as beings in need of moral training to fulfil their potential and become integrated into a well-ordered society. The two philosophers’ discourses on shame reveal important insights into their ideals of human nature, moral education and the good life.

This book tackles directly the methodological problems that are relevant to anyone interested in cross-cultural comparisons and organizes discussions of the ancient sources to facilitate a thorough integration of perspectives from the cultural traditions concerned. This approach provides sufficient focus to allow for detailed textual analysis while giving scope for making constant connections to the broader comparative questions at issue.

We wish Dr Zhao the best with her future endeavours!