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Special Topic Salon (LectureⅠ): Interpretation and Reflections of Mozi's Doctrine of Universal Love

Author: [Date]:2020-11-24 [Source]: [ClickTime]:

On October 19, 2020, the second phase of Special Salon of 2020 Master Program of Chinese Philosophy--Interpretation and Reflections of Mozi's Doctrine of Universal Love (墨子“兼爱说”的重释和反思) was held in room 1412, Wenyuan Building, Chang' an Campus.The salon was delivered by Professor Song Kuanfeng of philosophy Department and hosted by Associate professor Wang Jing. Professor Wang Li, 2020 class of all-English Master of Chinese Philosophy and 2019 class of masters and doctors of foreign philosophy attended the salon.

The first part of this salon was for student representatives and shares their understanding of Mozi's philosophy. Sagbilge Mehmet Nuri(李毅轩) from Turkey explained his understanding from three aspects. First, he talked about the historical background of Mozi's philosophical thoughts. Secondly, based on the main chapters in Mozi, such as Universal love(兼爱), Shang Xian(尚贤), Shang Tong(尚同), Tianzhi(天志), Ming GUI(明鬼), Fei Le(非攻), Festival funeral(节葬), and economical use(节用), he discussed the logic of the formation of Mozi's philosophical thoughts. Then, with the title of "Rethinking Mohism and Confucianism from a Modern Perspective", he discusses the differences between the two philosophies from the perspectives of psychology and political philosophy and their reflections on contemporary times.

The second part of the salon was professor Song Kuanfeng's in-depth explanation on “The Universal love of Mozi”. Professor Song claimed that although students from different countries are majoring in Chinese philosophy, they should also broaden their academic horizons and strengthen their understanding and research on Western philosophy, so that they can do better research on Chinese philosophy. Professor Song's lecture is mainly divided into three parts: (1) The core content of Mozi's philosophy thought; (2) The theory of universal love and Mozi's demonstration of the core principle of universal love; (3) Compared with the core concepts of western political philosophy, re-explain and reflect on the real reasons why the theory of “universal love” is difficult to achieve.

Professor Song pointed out that Mohism occupied an important position in the Pre-Qin Dynasty, and its emphasis on “universal love” was different from the Confucian emphasis on “love is different”. Among Mozi's ten propositions of “promoting good and eliminating evil”, the principle of “universal love” is core. In addition, about the translation of “universal love”, professor song believes that impartial love or impartial caring is superior to the universal love, namely “impartial” love is better. He emphasized that the principle of "universal love" could not solve all social problems, and Mozi confused the two fields of politics and morality, which also led to the vanish of Mohism to some extent. “Universal love” is not in the sense of politics, but in the sense of ethics, we can not use “morality” to solve the problem of “justice”. In retrospect of modern western philosophy, the issue of “justice” belongs to the field of political science. In the field of ethics, we do not talk about what justice is. According to Professor Song, the biggest problem of Mohism lies in the confusion of the two fields, and the theory itself cannot be consistent, which explains why Mohism, as a prominent scholar in the Warring States Period, disappeared later.

 In the discussion section, students discussed about the difference between Confucius “benevolence” thought and Mozi's theory of “universal love”, “universal love” thought with the time and the significance of reality, and the realization of “universal love”--whether it will be divided into full implementation and partial implementation according to the different actual conditions of each state. Students also consulted Professor Song on “How did Mozi understand ‘justice’”.

In this salon, teachers and students fully communicated with each other, the content was closely related to the theme, and the atmosphere was relaxed, which not only broadened the horizons of students, deepened the students' understanding of Mozi's philosophy, especially the “universal love theory”, but also promoted the exchange and growth of Chinese and foreign students.


Author: Wang Dashuang