Thorian HarrisThorian Harris, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Philosophy

I received my Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2013. Before joining the faculty at NDNU, I taught philosophy at Maui College, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University, and Sacramento State University.

Education History

  • Ph.D., Philosophy. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 2013.

Courses Taught

  • PHIL 1001 Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHIL 1205 / 2205 Law, Morality, Society
  • PHIL 2200 Moral Problems
  • PHIL 1215 / 2215 Theory of the Good Life

Research and Interests

I am primarily interested in Confucianism, Daoism, Chinese Buddhism, Hellenistic philosophy, American Pragmatism (especially the work of John Dewey and Jane Addams), and Aristotle’s ethics. One of my overarching concerns is to understand moral theory as practice. In my classes I am continuously trying to identify and teach the skills necessary for everyday moral creativity. In my research I have argued for a non-foundational approach to moral justification. I am also interested in identifying the material conditions for the development of moral dispositions and emotions (such as shame and emulation), and investigating the role-specific rhetorical dimensions of ethical discourse.

Additional interests include brewing, book-binding, bicycle building and repair, gardening, and plant pathology fieldwork.


  • “The Hermeneutics of Pragmatic Language in Early Confucian Literature” [in prep]
  • “Aristotle’s Three Methods for Evaluating Character” [in prep]
  • “Aristotle and Confucius on the Socioeconomics of Shame,” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, 13 (2) [forthcoming]
  • Comment and Discussion on Stephen C. Angle’s Sagehood: The Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucian Philosophy, Philosophy East and West, 62 (3): 392-402

Presentations and Panels

  • “Sharing Lives: Using Exemplars to Cultivate Common Moral Culture,” Law, Culture, Morality: East & West, University of Illinois, October 4-5, 2013
  • “Invisible Selves: Confucius, Dewey, and Addams on the Democratic Sage,” Summer Institute of American Philosophy, University of Oregon, July 8-13, 2013
  • “The Pragmatic Professor: Teaching Lower-Division Philosophy Courses in Light of the Pragmatists,” Summer Institute of American Philosophy, University of Oregon, July 8-13, 2013
  • “How to Lie Like a Buddhist: the ethical conditions and sustainability of an instrumental appreciation of truth,” Philosophy Club Discussion Forum, Sacramento State University, May 1, 2013
  • “The Pragmatic Normativity of John Dewey and Confucius,” Summer Institute for American Philosophy, University of Oregon, July 16-21, 2012
  • “Aristotle and Confucius on the Socioeconomics of Shame,” 6th International Conference of the
  • South African Society for Greek Philosophy and the Humanities, "Greek Philosophy in Dialogue with African and Other World Philosophies," University of South Africa, April 17-19, 2012
  • Roundtable Discussion Forum, “New Directions in Studies of Chinese Philosophy: In View of Comparative Philosophy,” Bay-Area Comparative Philosophy Conference: San Jose State University, April 25, 2009
  • Panel on Methods in Comparative Philosophy, 1st Annual Uehiro Cross-Currents Philosophy Conference, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, March 22-24, 2006
  • “The Need for a New Understanding of Islamic ‘Fundamentalism’,” Sixth Annual 9/11 Community Discussion Meeting: Maui Community College, September 11, 2006