Prof. Dr. Lisa Raphals

Bild von Lisa Raphals

Internationales Kolleg für Geisteswissenschaftliche Forschung "Schicksal, Freiheit und Prognose. Bewältigungsstrategien in Ostasien und Europa"
Department of Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages, 2401 HMNSS Building, University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521-0321, USA

Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature

Home Institution: University of California, USA

IKGF Visiting Fellow January 2014 - June 2014

(Last change of profile by end of stay)

IKGF Research Project:

Fate, Fatalism and Autonomy

Curriculum Vitae

Lisa Raphals (瑞麗) is a philosopher and historian who focuses on the comparative study of early China and ancient Greece across several intellectual contexts. She is the author of Knowing Words: Wisdom and Cunning in the Classical Traditions of China and Greece (Cornell, 1992), Sharing the Light: Representations of Women and Virtue in Early China (SUNY 1998), Divination and Prediction in Early China and Ancient Greece (Cambridge, 2013).

Her most recent project has been an extensive comparative study of early Chinese and Greek mantic practices (“divination”), beliefs about fate and fatalism, and the implications of both for intellectual and social practices. She is also the author of many scholarly articles on comparative philosophy (China and Greece), history of science, religion, and gender.

She received her Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, with prior degrees in Classics and Psychology. She is professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature, with a cooperating appointment in Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside. She is director of the Comparative Program in Ancient Civilizations and a member of the Classics Tri-Campus Ph.D. Program faculty. She is also Visiting Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore (formerly, Professor, 2010-2012), where she teaches part of the year. She teaches a wide variety of courses on Chinese and Greek philosophy, history and religion, with particular interests in Daoism, gender, history of science, and science fiction studies. She is also actively involved in the promotion of the teaching of (Western) Classics in contemporary China, and has given seminars at Peking University, Fudan University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, among others.

Selected Publications

Books and Editions

  • Knowing Words: Wisdom and Cunning in the Classical Traditions of China and Greece. Cornell University Press, 1992.
  • Sharing the Light: Representations of Women and Virtue in Early China. State University of New York Press, 1998.
  • Divination and Prediction in Early China and Ancient Greece. Cambridge University Press, 2013.


  • 1994: “Skeptical Strategies in the Zhuangzi and Theaetetus." Philosophy East & West 44:3 (July): 501-26.
  • 1998: “The Treatment of Women in a Second-Century Medical Casebook,” Chinese Science 15: 7-28.
  • 2001 “Arguments by Women in Early Chinese Texts,” Nan Nü 3.2: 157-195.
  • 2002: “A 'Chinese Eratosthenes' Reconsidered: Chinese and Greek Calculations and Categories,” East Asian Science, Technology and Medicine 19: 10-61.
  • 2003: "Fate, Fortune, Chance and Luck in Chinese and Greek: A Comparative Semantic History." Philosophy East & West 53.4: 537-74.
  • 2005: “Divination and Medicine in China and Greece: A Comparative Perspective on the Baoshan Illness Divinations,” East Asian Science, echnology and Medicine 23: 26-53.
  • 2011: “Divination and Autonomy: New Perspectives from Excavated Texts,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy Supplement to Volume 37 (2010): 124-141.
  • 2011: “Divination in the Han shu Bibliographic Treatise,” Early China 32 (2008-2009): 45-102.
  • 2011: “The Ethics of Prediction,” in How should one live? Comparing ethics in ancient China and Greco-Roman antiquity, eds. R.A.H. King and Dennis Schilling. De Gruyter: 278-303.
  • 2011: “Ethics, Self-Cultivation and Embodied Virtue,” in Ethics in Early China: Essays in Honor of Chad Hansen, eds. Christopher Fraser, Daniel Robins, and Timothy O’Leary. Hong Kong University Press: 119-132.
  • 2012: (as Rui Li 瑞麗) 中國,希臘與羅馬的懷疑論與占卜 [Skepticism and Divination in China, Greece and Rome], trans. Sun Zhuo, Sinologie française 14 [古罗马和秦汉中国 : 风马牛不相及乎 Rome-Han: comparer l’incomparable, eds. M Bujard and M Kalinowski] (2009): 287-301.