Three Dialectical Phases in Feng Youlan’s Philosophical Journey

Lauren F Pfister*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Based on a Hegelian conception of “modern consciousness” that the young Feng Youlan had read about while writing his PhD dissertation at Columbia University in the years from 1920 to 1923, this essay provides a new account of Feng’s lengthy philosophical career as one of a modern/post-traditional “professional philosopher.” On this basis, his life and works are discussed along three dialectically related phases within his professional philosophical career, These are described as the “Early Feng” (1920–1949), the “Marxist Feng” (1950–1978), and the “Later Feng” (1979–1990). In the conclusion, seven ironies within and about Feng’s life and works are addressed that reveal the “unsettledness” and “restlessness” of Feng’s modern consciousness as a very notable twentieth century professional philosopher.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDao Companion to Contemporary Confucian Philosophy
EditorsDavid Elstein
PublisherSpringer Cham
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9783030564759
ISBN (Print)9783030564735
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameDao Companions to Chinese Philosophy
ISSN (Print)2211-0275
ISSN (Electronic)2542-8780

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Philosophy
  • History


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