Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Chris Fraser, The Philosophy of the Mozi: The First Consequentialists, Columbia University Press, 2016, 293pp., $40.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780231149273.
Reviewed by Eirik Lang Harris, City University of Hong Kong
When I was a graduate student casting around for ideas for a dissertation topic, one of my mentors suggested that I find some topic X, generally denigrated in the literature, and formulate an argument of the sort, “X is not as stupid as it sounds.” In an important sense, this is what Chris Fraser has done in examining the early Chinese text the Mozi. He examines the philosophical ideas of the Mohists as they appear in this text and provides not only the most charitable account of their philosophical ideas to appear in any Western language but also the first book length treatment of this text by a philosopher in at least 50 years.