Mozi fans will be interested in Eric Schliesser (a scholar of European philosophy) discussing Mozi on the state of nature.
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.
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Eirik Lang Harris, The Shenzi Fragments: A Philosophical Analysis and Translation, Columbia University Press, 2016, 173pp., $55.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780231177665.
Reviewed by Franklin Perkins, University of Hawai’i at Manoa
This position is offered in the context of a research project on the creation of Mozi or Yang Zhu from “heretics” into “philosophers.” We are looking for a young MA student in Sinology, Chinese studies, or Chinese philosophy willing to study an epoch in this creation. One’s research focus should be on one of the two figures in one (or more) epochs of the candidate’s choice. For more details, see this attached document.
KU Leuven is advertising a PhD position for the study of the “creation of Mozi and Yang Zhu as philosophers”: see here. This position is only for Taiwanese scholars, though I am assured that soon another call will come out for all scholars.
I am very happy to share the news that Columbia University Press has published Chris Fraser’s (ahem, long-awaited :-)) book:
The Philosophy of the Mòzi: The First Consequentialists
Congratulations, Chris! Information here.
A Report on “Modern Interpretations of Mozi”
Lee Ting-mien (University of Leuven)
The workshop “Modern Interpretation of Mozi,” organized by University of Leuven (KU Leuven), was held on April 3, 4 in 2014. The participants – Annick Gijsbers (University of Leuven), Carine Defoort (University of Leuven), Joachim Kurtz (Heidelberg University), Lee Ting-mien (University of Leuven), Nicolas Standaert (University of Leuven), Nie Tao (University of Leuven and Sichuan University), Qin Yanshi (Sichuan Normal University), Tian Hanyun (Yangzhou University), Xie Qiyang (China University of Political Science and Law), Yvonne Schultz Zinda (University of Hamburg), Zheng Jiewen(Shangdong University) – were scholars and graduate students working on Mozi studies in late-imperial or Republican China. Nine papers were presented on the workshop, beginning in the Ming dynasty and ending in the middle of the 20th century:
To file under Chinese philosophy in popular culture: Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses Mozi on the television show Cosmos here: http://www.cosmosontv.com/watch/215791683929 (from about 3:50 onward). Enjoy.
The Dao Companion to Classical Chinese Philosophy has been published (Amazon link). Read on for more information. Continue reading “New Dao Companion Volume Published”
The 2014 Term of the ISCWP’s “Beijing Roundtable on Contemporary Philosophy” workshop /symposium series is a small-size, half-day workshop on the theme “Mohist Logical Thought and Development of Contemporary Philosophy”, which will be held at Peking University, Beijing, China, 27th June 2014. For more information, click here. Please note that for those interested in possibly presenting at the Roundtable, the deadline for contacting the organizers is June 1, 2014.
As Steve and Manyul announced last month, with each new issue of Dao the blog will host a discussion of one of the issue’s articles, and the journal will make that article freely available online. Here I’m kicking off the series with a discussion of Loy Hui-chieh’s “On the Argument for Jian’ai” (Dao 12.4, available here).
Loy’s article treats the Mohists’ main argument for inclusive care (jiān ài 兼愛), focusing on the role played in it by appeals to virtues such as filial piety that are inevitably partial. Fundamental to his treatment is the view (which I share) that inclusive care did not require absolute impartiality—it did not imply that we have equal obligations to all people, or that we should treat them the same, or feel the same about them. Loy thus undermines one common sort or argument against the Mohists, that inclusive care is incompatible with the partial virtues and is therefore morally dubious. However, this does not mean that the Mohists’ own appeals to the partial virtues succeed, and Loy goes on to argue that they do not. I’ll sketch Loy’s argument, and then make critical comments on two points.
Issue 12:4 of Dao: A Journal of Comparatie Philosophy is now available on-line; see below for the Table of Contents. I’d like to call everyone’s attention to the fact that Hui-chieh Loy’s article, “On the Argument for Jian’ai,” is available for free access to everyone (just click on the “Full Text PDF” link for that article below). Next week, we will host some discussion of this article here on the blog, to be led off by an intial “featured post” on the subject by Dan Robins. Please read through Loy’s article and take part in the conversation!
Three new (or at least new to me) books of interest:
- The Mozi as an Evolving Text (Brill, 2013)
- The Classic of Changes in Cultural Context: A Textual Archaeology of the Yi jing (Cambria, 2012)
- Confucianism, Colonialism, and the Cold War: Chinese Cultural Education at Hong Kong’s New Asia College, 1949-63 (Brill 2011)
If anyone has read any of these, please let us know what you think!
Bloomington, Indiana was the site of the 8th Midwest Conference on Chinese Thought, which took place last Friday to Sunday. Our hosts at the University of Indiana (primarily Aaron Stalnaker, Maichel Ing, and Cheryl Cottine of the Religious Studies Department) organized things very well. The group was small enough that everyone was able to participate, but large enough that there was a critical mass to discuss a wide range of topics intelligently. As compared with the more narrowly philosophical conferences that I have mostly been attending, there was a refreshing dose of sinology (details of texts, less-well-known authors, etc.); too bad that the AAS doesn’t seem to be more open to broad discussions of Chinese thought, because it might then be more of a forum for conversations like this one. Two of my personal highlights were Esther Klein’s paper “Sima Qian’s Confucius and the Western Han Lunyu,” which both reviewed recent research on the possible Western Han composition of the Lunyu and presented her own research into citations of the Lunyu in Shiji; and Frank Perkins’s “The Mohist Daodejing,” which explored parallels between the last 16 chapters of the Daodejing (which are unattested in the Guodian texts) and Mohism. Both papers hint at further ways in which our understanding of early Chinese thought may continue to change in dramatic ways in years ahead!
In a famous passage, Xúnzǐ argues that natural disasters lead to catastrophe only because of human failings: with the proper preparation, floods and droughts still occur, but do not devastate. I’m probably not the only friend of this blog who found special poignancy in this argument while lecturing on it in the aftermath of Katrina.
The news today has been good. Irene seems to have weakened unexpectedly. (I hope this hasn’t changed since last I saw good information.) Here in Philadelphia, it looks like we’ll get a category one hurricane, the equivalent (in Hong Kong terms) of a typhoon signal ten. I think there was just one of those in the ten years I lived in Hong Kong; we didn’t even lose internet. I’m preparing mostly by baking lots of bread and making lots of hummus. I’m still a bit nervous, because I don’t know what I can expect from local construction, and the American infrastructure is (understandably, to an extent) less robust than Hong Kong’s. And there are lots of people more vulnerable than I am, and lots of people who have been and are going to be hit harder. I’m glad that friends have evacuated the Jersey shore, and am proud of friends who are part of the preparations and will be part of the response.
In any case, it’s got me thinking about Xúnzǐ, and also about the Mohists, who would have interpreted a storm like Irene as a punishment from heaven. Continue reading “Xunzi and the Mohists on Natural Disasters”