Professor Karyn Lynne Lai

Professor Karyn Lynne Lai

BA Hons, MA Hons (National University of Singapore), PhD, Philosophy (Sydney)

Arts,Design & Architecture
Humanities & Languages

Dr Karyn Lai is Professor of Philosophy in the School of Humanities and Languages. Her primary research is in early Chinese philosophy (especially Confucian and Daoist philosophies). She has investigated the nature of moral life in the Confucian tradition and draws on discussions in the Confucian texts to diversify our conceptions of ethics.  More recently, she has been exploring the Daoist texts, particularly the Zhuangzi (4th c. BCE), to understand its what its fascinating stories tell us about mastery, action, knowledge and agency.  She is editor of the Chinese Comparative Philosophy section, Philosophy Compass (Wiley-Blackwell), co-editor of the Chinese philosophy section, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and Associate Editor of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

She is interested in supervising postgraduate research projects in Chinese and comparative philosophy, particularly in the areas of ethics (including environmental ethics), wellbeing, and epistemology.

+61 (2) 9065 5421
326 Morven Brown



Awards and Nominations

  • Nominee for Best HDR Supervision Award, Dean’s Research Award, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, 2018
  • Representative of the Australian Academy of Humanities (AAH) at the joint conference and MOU treaty with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in Beijing, China, June 2014.
  • Dean’s Award for the Best Contribution to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2011, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW. (Lai, Karyn. 2011. Assessing participation skills: online discussions with peers. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education IFirst: 1-15. (26 Jul 2011) DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2011.590878.)
  • Anthony Mason Fellow, UNSW. Fellowship awarded for international exchange at Beijing University. Feb-July 1999.