Skip to main content


Dr. Jing Iris Hu, Department of Philosophy

Dr. Jing Iris Hu, Department of Philosophy
David Ward
Office: S-M 309 
M Annex,
2135 Mackay
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2524
Website(s): Academia Profile
Availability: By appointment.


Ph.D.: Duke University, North Carolina (2017)
M.Phil.: The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2008)
B.A.: Wuhan University (2006)

I am an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. My work focuses on moral emotions such as sympathy, empathy, shame and related topics such as moral progress/discovery. I am particularly interested in understanding the role emotions (qing) play in moral deliberation, moral perception, and moral motivation in Chinese philosophy and moral psychology. 

My work has appeared in journals such as Dao, Philosophy Compass, Comparative and Continental Philosophy, and the Journal of Chinese Philosophy. Here is a story on the Global and Mail on my study on the cultivation and expression of emotions in public lives.  

Before joining Concordia’s faculty, I was a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing at the University of Oklahoma. I have held teaching positions at Seattle University and Washington and Lee University.  

Besides my research, I do freelance translation on topics that interest me. For example, my translation of Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology is one of the most popular books on in 2019 in China.

Teaching activities

Fall 2019-20

PHIL 285 - Non-Western Philosophy
PHIL 430 - Advanced Studies in Ethics

Research activities

Project Empathy and Mencius originates from my doctoraldissertation, but extends into new territories not covered in the dissertationitself. Creating a dialogue between Chinese and Western philosophicaltraditions, I show how the fundamental moral emotion of empathy can produce andmotivate altruistic behavior.  I thendraw on empirical studies to evaluate ways in which empathy can be cultivatedand regulated. Ultimately, I use these results to argue against Jesse Prinz andPaul Bloom’s claim that empathy is unnecessary and unimportant for morality.

The Honesty Project focuses on how honesty is perceived bythe recipients, and how the expectation of the recipients may affect whatconstitutes as an honest act of the moral agent. For example, the truth oneowes to her life partner is different from what she owes to her employer. Bytaking into account the recipient’s responses and expectations, I offer novelinsights into our understanding of honesty and its cultivation.

The Shame Project contrasts the moral function of shame inConfucian philosophy and certain philosophical accounts in the west. Notoriousfor burdening marginalized members of community with stress that is difficultyto lift, shame’s destructive function is evident. In the Confucian tradition,shame is associated with achieving moral excellence, rather thanstigmatization.  I investigate how shameis understood and managed in different cultures to uncover the nature of thismoral emotion, and to gain insights into how to best utilize and manage it inmodern society.


       Hu, J. and S. Robertson, “Constructing Morality with Mengzi: Three Lessons on Moral Discovery and Meta-ethics,” chapter forthcoming in Lost Voice at the Foundation of Ethics, Routledge. ed. Colin Marshal, 2019).  

       “Moral Motivation in Mencius Part 1—When achild falls into a well,” forthcoming in PhilosophyCompass (2019).

            “MoralMotivation in Mencius Part 2—When oneburst of anger brings peace to the world,” forthcoming in Philosophy Compass (2019).

      Hu, J. (2018). Empathy fornon-kin, the faraway, the unfamiliar, and the abstract—an interdisciplinarystudy on moral cultivation and a response to Prinz. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy. 17.3: 349-362.

      Danvers A. F., Hu, J., and M. J. O’Neil (2018), “EmotionalCongruence and Judgments of Honesty and Bias,” Collabra: Psychology, 4(1), 40.

      Flanagan, O. & Hu, J. (2011). Han Fei Zi’s philosophical psychology: Human nature, scarcity, and theneo-Darwinian consensus. Journal of Chinesephilosophy, 38(2), 293-316.

  ·     Reprinted in J. D.Carlson & A. F. Russell, State of Nature in Comparative PoliticalThought: Western and Non-Western Perspectives (Chapter 2). LexingtonBooks.

Back to top Back to top

© Concordia University