B R I A N      B R U Y A







Professor of Philosophy
Eastern Michigan University



I am Professor of Philosophy in the Philosophy Section of the E.M.U. Department of History and Philosophy, and I am Center Associate in the University of Michigan's Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies.

My specialties are Chinese philosophy, comparative philosophy, philosophy of action, and philosophical psychology.

My teaching interests include early Chinese philosophy, Asian philosophy, philosophy of mind, philosophy of action,  philosophy of life, philosophy of religion, and American Pragmatism.

My training was in Chinese and comparative philosophy at the University of Hawai'i, the world's gravitational center for comparative philosophy.  My advisor was Roger Ames, and my dissertation committee included: Eliot Deutsch, Arindam Chakrabarti, Graham Parkes, David McCraw, and Robert Solomon (University of Texas).

For the school year 2019-2020, I am Fulbright Senior Scholar and Visiting Professor at National Taiwan University's Department of Philosophy.
For the school-year 2018-2019, I was
Visiting Scholar at Shandong University's Collaborative Innovation Center of Confucian Civilization.

For the school year 2012-13, I was
Fulbright Senior Scholar and Visiting Associate Professor at National Taiwan University's Department of Philosophy.
For periods from 2005-2007, I was Templeton Senior Fellow at and then associated with the Medici II conferences at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Positive Psychology, where I worked with Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi and Jeanne Nakamura.  

I began my philosophy career at the University of Washington, studying with Kenneth Clatterbaugh, Ronald Moore, Charles Marks, Karl Potter, and Arindam Chakrabarti (visiting).

My training in modern and Classical Chinese was at the Stanford Center (located then at National Taiwan University), the Mandarin Training Center (National Taiwan Normal University), and the University of Washington (where I was initially introduced to Chinese and comparative philosophy through studies with Chun-chieh Huang 黃俊傑 (visiting from National Taiwan University), Karl Potter, Arindam Chakrabarti, Vrinda Dalmiya, Jerry Norman, and William Boltz).

In 2000, I was selected to attend a two-week Chinese paleography institute at the University of Chicago, studying under Edward Shaughnessy, Donald Harper, Qiu Xigui 裘錫圭, and Wang Bo 王博.

I nurtured a love for Chinese art during a year as resident translator of exhibitions and academic articles in the Antiquities Department of the National Palace Museum, Taiwan.

I also have an abiding interest in translation.  My translations of C. C. Tsai's 蔡志忠 critically-acclaimed comic book series on Chinese philosophy have been published by Princeton University Press and Anchor/Doubleday.

I am chair of the American Philosophical Association's Committee on Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies.

And I am an occasional reviewer/referee for:
  • Consciousness & Cognition
  • Bloomsbury Publishing
  • University of Hawai'i Press
  • Frontiers of Philosophy in China
  • Philosophy East and West
  • Philosophy Compass
  • Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy
  • Sophia
  • Lexington Books
  • The Fulbright Scholar Program
  • State University of New York Press
  • American Psychological Association Dictionary of Psychology
  • The John Templeton Foundation


The Philosophical
Challenge from China

MIT Press, 2015

"Bruya articulates his goal as fostering a relationship between analytic philosophy and Chinese philosophy. In this, he succeeds: the 13 solid essays have a good, coherent flow and make readers thirsty for more. Some selections are interesting enough to be the basis of a stand­alone volume, and most are very good. The volume has several virtues worth mentioning. First, it covers fields largely untouched in comparable philosophy. One sees not only the more visible and traveled road to comparative philosophy in virtue ethics but also its extension into the fields of moral psychology and political philosophy, both of which receive extensive attention. Several chapters are devoted to innovative connections in metaphysics and epistemology as well. Second, the social and cognitive sciences have been integrated into several essays, a strength that further extends the benefits of this volume. Last, the section on pronunciations is immensely helpful and will serve as a reference tool. Highly Recommended." 

Effortless Attention

Effortless Attention

A New Perspective in the Cognitive Science of Attention and Action
MIT Press, 2010
"A challenge to the naïve but prevailing notion of a central executive, somewhere in the frontal lobe or its vicinity, dishing out the orders to the rest of the brain and controlling every cognitive function, from attention on up. Evidently, cognitive functions, notably attention, can operate efficiently and effortlessly on the margins of consciousness. Attention and performance are inextricable from the perception-action cycle, where there is no true causal origin and consciousness is merely a phenomenon--and in fact can be an impediment. The evidence presented in Effortless Attention makes ample room for priming, intuition, gut-feeling, automatism, and other hidden but very real unconscious brain powers behind decision-making and the pursuit of goals." 
Joaquín M. Fuster, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, author of The Prefrontal Cortex

"The editor has succeeded in putting the phenomenon of effortless attention on the interdisciplinary research agenda, which will hopefully inspire more research and lead to a deeper understanding of what attention actually is."
Artem Belopolsky, Quarterly Review of Biology


Updated December 2019
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