Mathew A. Foust


Mathew A. Foust is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Appalachian State University. His research draws primarily on ancient Chinese philosophy and classical American philosophy, with an abiding interest in historical and comparative areas of intersection between these traditions. His work in ethics focuses largely on the virtue of loyalty, with several publications offering interpretations and applications of Josiah Royce’s philosophy of loyalty. His work in philosophy of religion includes examination of philosophical and religious perspectives on death and immortality. He is currently the President of the Josiah Royce Society and Secretary of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy. He is a past Secretary-Treasurer of the International Society for Comparative Studies of Chinese and Western Philosophy.


Ph.D. Philosophy, University of Oregon

M.A. Philosophy, Texas A&M University

B.A. Philosophy, John Carroll University



Royce 1909 Book CoverMathew A. Foust, Josiah Royce's 1909 Pittsburgh Loyalty Lectures. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2021.

American philosopher Josiah Royce (1856-1916) delivered three lectures on the topic of loyalty at the Twentieth Century Club in Pittsburgh in February 1909. These lectures, “The Conflict of Loyalties,” “The Art of Loyalty,” and “Loyalty and Individuality,” are indispensable for a complete and coherent picture of the development of Royce’s philosophy of loyalty. This publication marks the first appearance of these lectures in a book, making them widely accessible to readers.

Philosophies of America Book CoverKim Díaz and Mathew A. Foust, The Philosophies of America Reader: From the Popol Vuh to the Present. Bloomsbury, 2021.

 The Philosophies of America Reader brings together an unparalleled selection of readings spanning several eras and American traditions. Addressing perennial questions of philosophy and new questions arising in a variety of cultural contexts, texts from Classical American, Native American, Latin American, African American, Asian American, Mexican, Caribbean, and South American philosophers reveal the interweaving tapestry of ideas characteristic of America.

The Philosophies of America Reader is an audacious text…I can see no reason why this text could not become the new standard for our classes on American Philosophy.” ― Teaching Philosophy

Confucianism and American Philosophy Book CoverMathew A. Foust, Confucianism and American Philosophy. SUNY Press, 2017.

This work breaks new ground in comparative studies by exploring the connections between Confucianism and the American Transcendentalist and Pragmatist movements. Confucianism and American Philosophy traces direct lines of influence from early translations of Confucian texts and brings to light conceptual affinities that have been previously overlooked.

 “…Foust’s book succeeds masterfully in its stated task: proposing five new points of convergence between Confucianism and American philosophy. The book not only increases our understanding of each tradition relative to the other; it also significantly broadens the discussion to include less-often-included representatives of American philosophy.” ― American Journal of Theology & Philosophy

Feminist Confucius Book CoverMathew A. Foust and Sor-hoon Tan, Feminist Encounters with Confucius. Brill, 2016.

This work builds on earlier works defending Confucianism against charges of sexism and presents new interpretations of Confucianism compatible with feminism. In addition to topics in ethics and political philosophy, this volume includes discussions in epistemology and metaphysics.

“This long-awaited volume has provided new materials, perspectives, and methods in discussing the relations between Confucianism and feminism. It avoids the illusion that Confucianism is one thing.” ― Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Loyalty to Loyalty Book CoverMathew A. Foust, Loyalty to Loyalty: Josiah Royce and the Genuine Moral Life. Fordham University Press, 2012.

 The lone philosopher to base an ethical theory on the virtue of loyalty is Josiah Royce (1856-1916). Loyalty to Loyalty engages Royce’s moral theory, revealing how loyalty, rather than being just one virtue among others, is central to living a genuinely moral and meaningful life.

 “Foust…paints a picture of ‘the need for loyalty’ and makes a provocative case that, perhaps, no virtue is more vital.”  ― The Journal of Moral Education

Journal Articles

  • “Thoreau and the Confucian Four Books,” Philosophy Compass, Vol. 16, No. 7, July 2021 (
  •  “Did Confucius Advise Zai Wo To Do What He Believed To Be Morally Wrong? Interpreting Analects 17.21,” Asian Philosophy, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2021, pp. 229-239.
  •  "Loyalty, Justice, and Rights: Royce and Police Ethics in Twenty-First-Century America," Criminal Justice Ethics, Vol. 37., No. 1, April 2018, pp. 1-19.
  •  “Nitobe and Royce: Bushido and the Philosophy of Loyalty,” Philosophy East and West, Vol. 65, No. 4, October 2015, pp. 1174-1193.
  •  “Confucianism and American Pragmatism,” Philosophy Compass, Vol. 10, No. 6, June 2015, pp. 369-378.
  •  “Teaching and Learning Guide for ‘Confucianism and American Pragmatism,’” Philosophy Compass, Vol. 10, No. 6, June 2015, pp. 420-423.
  •  “The Feminist Pacifism of William James and Mary Whiton Calkins,” Hypatia, Vol. 29, No. 4, Fall 2014, pp. 889-905.
  •  “Comparative Cases of Conscience: Teaching Josiah Royce’s Philosophy of Loyalty in China,” Comparative American Studies, Vol. 12, No. 3, September 2014, pp. 231-238.
  •  “Sex and Selfhood: What Feminist Philosophy Can Learn from Recent Ethnography in Ho Chi Minh City,” Journal of International Women’s Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3, July 2013, pp. 31-41 (
  •  “Experience as a Prelude to Disaster: American Philosophy and the Fear of Death,” Mortality, Vol. 18, No.1, February 2013, pp. 1-16.
  •  “Tragic Possibility, Tragic Ambiguity: William James and Simone de Beauvoir on Freedom and Morality,” Existential Analysis, Vol. 24, No.1, January 2013, pp. 117-129.
  •  “Confess Your Contradictions: Schelling, Royce, and the Art of Atonement,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2012, pp. 516-530.
  •  “Loyalty in the Teachings of Confucius and Josiah Royce,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Vol. 39, No. 2, June 2012, pp. 192-206.
  •  “‘What Can I Do For the Cause Today Which I Never Did Before?’: Situating Josiah Royce’s Pittsburgh Lectures on Loyalty,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, Vol. 47, No. 1, Winter 2011, pp. 87-108.
  •  “Loyalty and the Art of Wise Living: The Influence of Plato on the Moral Philosophy of Josiah Royce”(co-authored with Melissa Shew), The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 48, No. 4, December 2010, pp. 353-370.
  •  “Grief and Mourning in Confucius’s Analects,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Vol. 36, No. 2, June 2009, pp. 348-358.
  •  “Perplexities of Filiality: Confucius and Jane Addams on the Private/Public Distinction,” Asian Philosophy, Vol. 18, No. 2, July 2008, pp. 149-166.
  •  “William James and the Promise of Pragmatism,” William James Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1, Summer 2007 (
  •  “Tragedy and the Sorrow of Finitude: Reflections on Sin and Death in the Philosophy of Josiah Royce,” The Pluralist, Vol. 2, No. 2, Summer 2007, pp. 106-114 (with commentary by Kenneth W. Stikkers, pp. 115-118).
  •  “In Cold Blood: James and Wittgenstein on Emotions,” The Streams of William James, Vol. 6, No. 3, Fall 2004, pp. 15-18.


Essays in Collections

  • "Exemplars of Loyalty," in The Virtue of Loyalty, ed. Troy Jollimore. Oxford University Press, 2024, pp. 170-195.
  •  “To Be Humane (Ren 仁) Is To Humanize: Being and Becoming in the Digital Age” in Confucianism and Deweyan Pragmatism: Resources for a New Geopolitics of Interdependence, eds. Roger T. Ames, Chen Yajun, and Peter D. Hershock. University of Hawaii Press, 2021, pp. 242-256.
  •  “Confucius and Emerson on the Virtue of Self-Reliance” in A Power to Translate the World: New Essays on Emerson and International Culture, eds. David LaRocca and Ricardo Miguel-Alfonso. Dartmouth College Press, 2015, pp. 249-261.
  •  “Loyalty, Friendship, and Truth: The Influence of Aristotle on the Philosophy of Josiah Royce” (co-authored with Melissa Shew) in The Relevance of Royce, eds. Kelly A. Parker and Jason Bell. Fordham University Press, 2014, pp. 69-88.
  • “Where Should LeBron’s Loyalty Lie? Where Should Ours?” in Pragmatism and the Philosophy of Sport, eds. Douglas Anderson, John Kaag and Richard Lally. Lexington Books, 2012, pp. 77-88.
Title: Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair
Department: Philosophy and Religion

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-3089

Office address
I.G. Greer Hall 113