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Zhen Chen Professor

Research Interests: 
  • Contemporary Western Ethics (Metaethics and Normative Ethics)
  • Contemporary Western Philosophy (Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind)

Educational Background

PhD, Philosophy, Wayne State University (1999)

MA, Contemporary Western Philosophy, Wuhan University (1986)

BA, Philosophy, Wuhan University (1982)

Research Projects

  1. “Contemporary Anglo-American Ethics,” a sub-project of “Studies on the History of Western Moral Philosophy,” one of the National Major Research Projects (China), 2012.10—2017.12
  2. “Studies on Western Virtue Ethics: Problems and Solutions,” a project of the National Social Science Foundation (China), 2009.6—2014.8
  3. “Frontiers of Contemporary Anglo-American Metaethics,” one of the PRC Ministry of Education Planning Research Projects on Humanities and Social Sciences, 2008.11—2011.10
  4. “Studies on Contemporary Western Virtue Ethics,” an invited project of a Key Research Center of the Humanities and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Education (Research Institute for Moral Education, Nanjing Normal University), 2013.9—2015.12
  5. “Studies on Contemporary Western Metaethics,” a sub-project of “Researches on Contemporary Western Ethics,” a Major Project of the Humanities and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Education for the Key Research Centers of the Ministry of Education (Renmin University of China), 2006.10—2009.12
  6. “Studies on Western Virtue Ethics,” a Key Project of the Collegial Foundation of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Department of Education of Jiangsu Province, 2006.8—2009.12
  7. “Contemporary Western Philosophical Problems,” a project of the Collegial Foundation of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Department of Education of Jiangsu Province, 2004.11—2006.5

Journal Articles

  1. “How Does Michael Slote Derive ‘Ought’ from ‘Is’?,” Studies in Ethics, No. 4, 2016, forthcoming
  2. “A Defense of the Analytic Approach to Ethics,” Philosophical Trends, No. 7, 2016, forthcoming
  3. “What Is Virtue Ethics?,” Philosophical Researches, No. 7, 2016, forthcoming
  4. “Is All That Is Real Rational?: A Critique of Alasdair MacIntyre’s Virtue Ethics,” Philosophical Researches, No. 3, 2015, 95-103
  5. “Moral Relativism and A Priori Moral Objectivism,” Morality and Civilization, No. 1, 2014, 12-22
  6. “The Ethics of Care and Sentimentalist Virtue Ethics,” Studies in Ethics, No. 1, 2014, 52-58, 66.
  7. “On Michael Slote’s Moral Sentimentalism,” Philosophical Researches, No. 6, 2013, 102-110
  8. “From Conventionalism to Relativism: A Critique of Gilbert Harman’s Moral Relativism, Journal of Nanjing Normal University (social science edition), No. 2, 2012, 26-35
  9. “Why We Care Whether Our Beliefs Are True: An Answer to Stephen Stich,” Frontiers of Philosophy in China, Volume 7, No. 1, 2012
  10. “Between Facts and Values: A Critical Analysis of Charles Stevenson’s Emotivism,” Philosophical Researches, No. 6, 2011, 98-107
  11. “Status Quo and Trends of Virtue Ethics,” Guangming Daily, January 25, 2011
  12. “Why Did Socrates Think That ‘No One Does Wrong Willingly’?,” Journal of Nanjing Normal University, Social Science Edition, No. 5, 2010, 5-11
  13. “Ayer’s Emotivism and Non-Cognitivism,” Jiangsu Social Sciences, No. 6, 2009, 39-44
  14. “The Mind-Body Problem and John Searle’s Biological Naturalism,” Studies in Dialectics of Nature, No. 12, 2009, 1-6
  15. “Individual Liberty and the Principles of Legal Interference,” China Applied Ethics 2007—2008: An Anthology of Ethics and Law, Guangming Daily Press, 2008, 16-28
  16. “Moral Relativism and Moral Objectivity,” Academic Monthly, No. 12, 2008, 40-50
  17. “Rethinking on the Nature of Western Philosophy,” Journal of Ningbo University, Humanities Edition, No. 6, 2008, 25-32
  18. “The Open Question Argument that Determines a Century of Anglo-American Metaethics,” Jianghai Academic Journal, No. 6, 2008, 26-33
  19. “Moral Duty and Supererogation,” Studies in Ethics, No. 5, 2008, 62-67
  20. “Retrospect and Prospect of the Mind-Body Problem: From Substance Dualism to Biological Naturalism,” Philosophical Researches, No. 8, 2008, 82-90
  21. “A Critique of R. G. Peffer’s Marxist Theory of Morality and Society,” Philosophical Trends, No. 12, 2007, 48-54
  22. “Liberty-Limiting Principles in Law,” Morality and Civilization, No. 6, 2007, 92-95
  23. “William David Ross’ Theory of Prima Facie Duty and Its Implications for Methodology, Jianghai Academic Journal, No. 4, 2007, 47-52
  24. “On the Goals and Means of Bilingual Teaching for Western Philosophy,” Journal of Peking University, Philosophy and Social Sciences Edition, May, 2007, 219-221
  25. “New Area of Moral Philosophy: From Normative Ethics to Metaethics,” Academic Monthly, No. 10, 2006, 47-53
  26. “Did Socrates Really Believe That Virtue Is Knowledge?,” Studies in Ethics, No. 4, 2006, 47-53
  27. “Recent Developments of Contemporary Western Normative Virtue Ethics,” Social Sciences Abroad, No. 4, 2006, 8-15
  28. “Global Justice and Its Possibilities,” Politics and Ethics: A Perspective of Applied Philosophy of Politics eds. Shan Jigang, Sun Jing and Winfried Jung, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and People’s Publishing House, 2006, 259-272
  29. “Psychological Egoism and Ethical Egoism,” Seeking Truth, No. 6, 2005, 48-54
  30. “The Gettier Problem and Its Solutions,” Philosophical Researches, No. 11, 2005, 41-48
  31. “A Survey of Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics,” Jianghai Academic Journal, No. 6, 2005, 33-38
  32. “Virtue Ethics and Moral Education,” Jiangsu Social Sciences, No. 6, 2005, 60-64
  33. “‘Morality’ and ‘Equality’,” Philosophical Trends, No. 9, 2005, 42-46
  34. “On Thomas Scanlon’s Contractualism,” World Philosophy, No. 4, 2005, 4-10
  35. “Prisoner’s Dilemma: Rationality of Morality and Moral Education of Citizens,” Journal of Yunnan University, Social Sciences Edition, No. 6, 2004, 29-36
  36. “A Survey of Contemporary Western Sexual  Ethics,” Social Sciences Abroad, No. 5, 2004, 15-19
  37. “A Critique of David Gauthier’s Morals by Agreement,”  Hebei  Academic Journal, No. 3, 2004, 58-61
  38. “Recent Developments of Contemporary Western Virtue Ethics” (Editorial Words), Seeking Truth, No. 2, 2004, 5-6
  39. “Incommensurability between Morality and Prudential Rationality,” Seeking Truth, No. 1, 2004, 5-11
  40. “Several Issues in the Methodology of Applied Ethics,” Philosophical Trends, No. 12, 2003, 28-32
  41. “Practical Reason and Rationality of Morality,” Journal of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Social Science Edition, No. 4, 2003, 10-16
  42. “What Does the Agent Have Most Reason to Do When Morality and Prudence Conflict?,” Southwest Philosophy Review, Volume 16, No. 1, January, 2000, 181-188
  43. “Why Did Chinese Traditional Culture Not Facilitate the Development of Modern Science?,” The History of Chinese Philosophy (Quarterly), No. 3, 2000, 44-53
  44. “A New Inquiry into Bertrand Russell’s Theory of Descriptions,” Essays of Young Teachers (an Anthology), published by Editorial Office of the Journal of Wuhan University, 1986, 51-64


  1. Contemporary Western Normative Ethics, Nanjing Normal University Press, 2006
  2. (Co-authored, 2/2) Western and Chinese Philosophical Foundations of the Ideas of Honor and Shame, People’s Publishing House, 2010
  3. (Co-authored, 2/2) Studies on Contemporary Western Ethics, Peking University Press, 2013
  4. A Puzzle about Morality and Rationality (Dissertation), Copyright © 1999 by Zhen Chen, Wayne State University, 1999


Translated Book (from English into Chinese)

  1. John Pollock and Joseph Cruz, Contemporary Theories of Knowledge, Fudan University Press, 2008


Translated Articles (from English into Chinese)

  1. Simon Blackburn, “Some Trends in Contemporary Western Philosophy: Realism & Pragmatism,” South China Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 1, January 2016, 150-157
  2. Allan Gibbard, “Could Normative Insights Be Sources of Normative Knowledge?,” Jianghai Academic Journal, No. 6, 2012
  3. Stephen Darwall, “The Normativity of Moral Obligation,” Jianghai Academic Journal, No. 6, 2011
  4. Daniel M. Hausman, “Preference Satisfaction and Normative Economics,” Jianghai Academic Journal, No. 4, 2009, 30-36
  5. Peter Koslowski, “Some Principles of Ethical Economy,” with Zhen Chen’s Comments, Academic Monthly, No. 10, 2007,15-24
  6. Thomas Scanlon, “When Does Equality Matter?” with Zhen Chen’s Comments, Academic Monthly, No. 1, 2006, 136-144
  7. Bruce Russell, “Reasons, Rationality, and Morality,” Jianghai Academic Journal, No. 5, 2005, 17-23
  8. Stephen Darwall, “Introduction” (to Contractarianism/Contractualism ed. Stephen Darwall, UK Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), World Philosophy, No. 4, 2005, 10-15
  9. Thomas Scanlon, “What is Morality?: Moral Motivation and the Fragmentation of the Moral,” Jianghai Academic Journal, No. 3, 2005, 22-28
  10. Bruce Russell, “What We Owe to Strangers: Considering the Extremes,” Jianghai Academic Journal, No. 2, 2005, 19-24
  11. Bruce Russell, “Contextualism on a Pragmatic, not a Skeptical, Footing,” Hebei Academic Journal, No. 6, 2004, 56-62
  12. Ramon Das, “Virtue Ethics and Right Action,” Seeking Truth, No. 2, 2004, 15-24
  13. Henry E. Kyburg, “Probability, Rationality, and a Rule of Detachment,” Selected Works of Philosophy of Science, ed. Tianji Jiang, Hubei People’s Publishing House, 1988, 338-350


Translated Articles (from Chinese into English)

  1. Jiefu Xiao, “The Enlightenment of Anti-Neo-Confucian Thought During the Ming-Qing Dynasties,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 16 (1989)

Teaching: Honors and Awards

  1. “Contemporary Western Philosophical Problems” (a bilingual course), one of the Projects of Bilingual Teaching Demonstration Courses of the Ministry of Education of China of Year 2007, 2007.12
  2. “Wandering in Western Ethics,” awarded “Excellent Chinese MOOC” by the Ministry of Education of China, 2013
  3. “A History of Western Philosophy” (Lecture on René Descartes), awarded “An Excellent Class” by the Ministry of Education of China, 2015.8
  4. Jiangsu Provincial Pilot Project for Bilingual Teaching Graduate Courses, 2011.9
  5. “Contemporary Western Philosophical Problems (a bilingual course)”, granted as one of Jiangsu Excellent Graduate Courses of Year 2009, 2009.11
  6. “Bilingual Courses for Western Philosophy: Development and Improvement,” granted the Second Award of Jiangsu Provincial Higher Education Teaching Achievements of Year 2009, awarded by Jiangsu Provincial Government, April 2009
  7. The Fourth NNU “Yixi Quintessence Teacher” Award, 2015
  8. The NNU Excellent Graduate Student Supervisor, 2015
  9. The Ninth NNU Teaching and Educating Award, 2013
  10.  “Contemporary Anglo-American Metaethics” as a chapter of one of the key textbooks of the Ministry of Education: A History of Western Ethics, funded by the Ministry of Education of China, 2009.12—2014.12
  11. Contemporary Western Normative Ethics, granted the third award of the First China Association for Ethical Studies Academic Achievements (Authored Books), 2010
  12. “Studies on Contemporary Western Philosophical Problems” (a bilingual graduate course), funded by the NNU Core Courses for Graduates, 2009
  13. Contemporary Western Normative Ethics (book), granted the Second Award by the Department of Education of Jiangsu Province, 2008
  14. “Bilingual Courses for Western Philosophy: Development and Improvement,” the top grade award winner of the 14th Teaching Achievements of Nanjing Normal University, 2008
  15. “Contemporary Western Philosophy” Teaching Team Project, funded by Nanjing Normal University, 2008
  16. “Western Philosophical Wisdom,” granted as one of the NNU Excellent Courses of Year 2006, 2006


Academic Title

Distinguished Expert of All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese Committee

Member of Executive Committee of Jiangsu Province Philosophical Association