Dr Philippe Major

Lecturer in Philosophy


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.