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Franklin Perkins

Visiting Professor of the Philosophy of Religions, University of Chicago

Frank Perkins’ work addresses common philosophical issues by drawing resources across different cultural traditions. Many of his research interests center around globalizing philosophy of religion.

He is the author of Heaven and Earth are not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy, which gives a history of early Chinese philosophy in terms of responses to a growing consensus that the order of nature is not itself ethical. This consensus arose from a version of the problem of evil: the recognition that bad things happen to good people. His most recent book is Doing What You Really Want: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mengzi. He was also co-editor (with Chenyang Li) of Chinese Metaphysics and Its Problems. Perkins was originally trained in the history of European Philosophy, particularly the Early Modern Period. He has authored two books on the philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: Leibniz: A Guide for the Perplexed, and Leibniz and China: A Commerce of Light.

Perkins received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Pennsylvania State University. He has previously taught at Vassar College, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), and at DePaul University, where he was also director of the Chinese Studies Program. He is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and editor of the journal Philosophy East and West.


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