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Mo Zi


Mo zi, personal name was Di, was a native of either Lu or Song. He was active during the period of 468-376b.c. More in line with interest of the common people, some of his important theories were in direct conflict with those of Confucius. His idea could be found in a book entitled Mozi.

Mo Zi advocated universal love, the love for all without discrimination. One must treat another person, his family and his country in the same way as one treated oneself, one’s own family, and one’s own country. Thus Mo zi’s love was totally different from the concept of benevolence taught by Confucius. Mo Zi had no use for rites and music; his teaching of frugality on funerals and other occasions was in sharp contrast with the kind of life the noble had and the kind of advice Confucius gave.

In politics, Mo Zi believed that people with ability should be elevated; he was opposed to inherited wealth or nobility. He said that a man with ability should become a government official even though he might be a lowly peasant or an ordinary worker. This idea of his was different from that of Confucius who did not clearly oppose the hereditary system in the officialdom.

According to Mao Zi, heaven and the demons rewarded the good and punished the evil. King Jie of Xia, King Zhou of Shang, being tyrannical rulers, were punished for their opposition to the will of heaven, while Great Yu of Xia, King Tang of Shang, being saintly leaders, were rewarded for their compliance with the wishes of heaven. He believed that reward and punishment were meted out by heaven and the demons in accordance with the way people behaved. Poverty and wealth and people’s status were neither preordained nor immutable. He invoked the will of heaven to persuade rulers to display kindness, so that “the starving may have food, those suffering from cold may have clothes, and the toilers may have some rest”. Though all this was merely a wish, his opposition to fatalism was nevertheless progressive.

Ideologically speaking, both Confucius and Mao Zi were idealists. But there are noteworthy elements of materialism in Mo Zi’s theory of knowledge. Some of his criteria of authentic knowledge had to do with proof by facts and objective result. Mohists of later days inherited this fine tradition and developed the materialistic view of the theory of knowledge. They made their contributions in the realm of natural sciences.

Mohism was an organized school of philosophers. After the death of Mao Zi, Ju Zi emerged as the leader of the school, which not only enforced its own discipline but also put its beliefs into practice.

During the warring States Period, apart from Confucianism and Mohism, there were also Taoism and Legalism. In addition, there was the school of Logician that studied the distinction between name and reality- a school that emphasized the importance of logic and debate. The Yin-yang school, on the other hand, tried to explain natural and social phenomena by an analysis of yin and yang-the negative and the positive forces in the universe.

 

 

 
 

 

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