The Philosophy of the Mòzi: The First Consequentialists

Paperback | September 13, 2016

byChris Fraser

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Mohism was an ancient Chinese philosophical movement founded in the fifth century BCE by the charismatic artisan Mòzi, or "Master Mo." Its practitioners advanced a consequentialist ethics, along with fascinating political, logical, and epistemological theories, that set the terms of philosophical argumentation and reflection in China for generations to come. Mohism faded away in the imperial era, leaving the impression that it was not as vital as other Chinese philosophical traditions, yet a complete understanding of Confucianism or Daoism is impossible without appreciating the seminal contribution of Mohist thought.

The Philosophy of the Mòzi is an extensive study of Mohism, situating the movement's rise and decline within Chinese history. The book also emphasizes Mohism's relevance to modern systems of thought. Mohism anticipated Western utilitarianism by more than two thousand years. Its political theory is the earliest to outline a just war doctrine and locate the origins of government in a state of nature. Its epistemology, logic, and psychology provide compelling alternatives to contemporary Western mentalism. More than a straightforward account of Mohist principles and practice, this volume immerses readers in the Mohist mindset and clarifies its underpinning of Chinese philosophical discourse.

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Mohism was an ancient Chinese philosophical movement founded in the fifth century BCE by the charismatic artisan Mòzi, or "Master Mo." Its practitioners advanced a consequentialist ethics, along with fascinating political, logical, and epistemological theories, that set the terms of philosophical argumentation and reflection in China ...

Chris Fraser is associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong. His articles on the classical Chinese philosophy of language, ontology, epistemology, ethics, and psychology have appeared in the Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Asian Philosophy, Philosophy East and West, Journal of Chinese Philosophy a...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:September 13, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231149271

ISBN - 13:9780231149273

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Order, Objectivity, and Efficacy2. Epistemology and Logic: Drawing Distinctions3. Political Theory: Order Through Shared Norms4. Heaven: The Highest Ethical Model5. Ethics: The Benefit of All6. Inclusive Care: For Others as for Oneself7. Motivation: Changing People in a Generation8. War and EconomicsEpilogueGlossaryNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Fraser is a gifted writer and expositor. Mo Di was not only the first consequentialist but also the first just war theorist, the first critic of extravagant ritual, the first critic of family-first ethics, and the first philosopher to offer what analytic philosophers would count as rigorous arguments. A must read for analytic philosophers who work in ethics and political philosophy.