In Ellen Fridland & Carlotta Pavese (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Skill and Expertise. Routledge. pp. 40-52 (2020)

Hagop Sarkissian
CUNY Graduate Center
The classical Chinese philosophical tradition (ca. 6th to 3rd centuries BCE) contains rich discussion of skill and expertise. Various texts exalt skilled exemplars (whether historical persons or fictional figures) who guide and inspire those seeking virtuosity within a particular dao (guiding teaching or way of life). These texts share a preoccupation with flourishing, or uncovering and articulating the constituents of an exemplary life. Some core features thought requisite to leading such a life included spontaneity, naturalness, and effortless ease. However, there was also significant disagreement during this ‘Warring States’ or ‘Hundred Schools’ period on which skills were valuable, how one should cultivate them, and who exactly ought to serve as exemplars. In this chapter, I discuss two prominent types of expertise and their attendant skills. The first is expertise at a particular craft, occupation, or dao, which finds its most poignant celebration in the early Daoist anthology Zhuangzi. Interest in crafts or skilled occupations was likely motivated by a perceived (or implied) analogy with living a good life more generally. The second concerns ethical expertise, a prominent and widely held ideal within the Ruist (Confucian) and Mohist schools. Both maintain that ethical expertise consists of an ability to apply past models or precedents to current cases, though they diverge on what those models are and how to properly apply them. The aim is to provide non-specialists an overview of this literature in Daoism, Confucianism, and Mohism, while also providing suggestions about further research.
Keywords skill  expertise  Daoism  Confucianism  Mohism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Xunzi on Moral Expertise.Justin Tiwald - 2012 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11 (3):275-293.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Knowledge How.Jeremy Fantl - 2012 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Skill and Expertise in Perception.Susanna Siegel - 2020 - In Ellen Fridland & Carlotta Pavese (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Skill and Expertise, 2020. Routledge. pp. 306-313.
Philosophical and Psychological Accounts of Expertise and Experts.Matt Stichter - 2015 - Humana.Mente - Journal of Philosophical Studies 28:105-128.
Perceptual Skills.Dustin Stokes & Bence Nanay - 2020 - In Ellen Fridland & Carlotta Pavese (eds.), Routledge Handbook on Skill and Expertise. London: Routledge.
The Role of Skill in Sport.Gunnar Breivik - 2016 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 10 (3):222-236.
What is an Expert?Bruce D. Weinstein - 1993 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 14 (1).
Toward a Skills-Based Philosophy of Medicine.Eran Patrick Klein - 2002 - Dissertation, Georgetown University
Skill Transmittance in Science Education.Brandon Boesch - 2019 - Science & Education 28 (1-2):45-61.
Interactional Expertise as a Third Kind of Knowledge.Harry Collins - 2004 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3 (2):125-143.
The Possibility of Ethical Expertise.Bruce D. Weinstein - 1994 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 15 (1):1-187.
Expertise in Evidence-Based Medicine: A Tale of Three Models.Sarah Wieten - 2018 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 13:2.


Added to PP index

Total views
183 ( #64,032 of 2,506,078 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
33 ( #27,324 of 2,506,078 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes