Introduction to Chinese Philosophy

Black line art image on brown background of a Chinese man riding a dragon

This open educational resource contains PowerPoint slides for a lifelong learning course which introduces the major schools of classical Chinese philosophy, including Confucianism and Daoism. Philosophical texts are approached in English translation, focusing on how the ancient Chinese thought about philosophical topics which concern us today. The course is intended for adult learners and taught at university foundation level (Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 7).

Introduction to Chinese Philosophy is offered as part of the Short Courses programme at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Open Learning. For further information, visit Short Courses.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • identify different approaches in classical Chinese philosophy;
  • describe the positions of Chinese philosophers on philosophical issues;
  • read and analyse extracts of Chinese philosophical texts in English translation.


This resource bundle includes four PowerPoint presentations. Please click the links below to download them.

  • Confucianism I: General Background and the Analects (ppt / pdf)
  • Confucianism II: Mencius and Xunzi (ppt / pdf)
  • Daoism I: Daodejing (ppt / pdf)
  • Daoism II: Zhuangzi (ppt / pdf)

You can also download these free learning materials from TES Resources.

Supporting Resources

You can find open access English translations of the texts (with the exception of the Xunzi) from the links below:






Header image: silk painting depicting a man riding a dragon, public domain image on Wikimedia Commons.