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Indian and Chinese Philosophy

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Adrián Slavkovský

This textbook offers a brief overview of the main philosophical schools of the two most significant cultures in ancient Asia, from where these thoughts have spread widely – it concerns ancient India and China. Most important philosophical concepts of that region like holistic or ceremonial approach to reality, openness to transcendence, pluralism of opinions, behaviour leading by a sense of harmony are somehow complementary to our prevailing contemporary Western thought. Therefore they can be enriching and balancing for us and our culture.
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10. Mohism

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Keywords: rationalism, utilitarism, universal love, criticism of rituals, logic

10.1 Mozi and His Teachings

Shortly after the death of Confucius, a philosopher was born, whose opinions were at first based on Confucius’ teachings, and later he became one of his first significant critics. The thinker was Mozi, which means Master Mo, sometimes mentioned as Mo Ti (Mo Di). Information on his life differ, he lived at some time in the 5th – 4th century B.C. before the birth of Mencius. It was the era of the Fighting states, with gradual movement towards centralisation and the creation of an empire. From the thought point of view, it was an era of rationalism and utilitarism. He probably came from the social class of craftsmen; his professional domain was military techniques and fortifications. It explains his pragmatic attitude and emphasis on utility. He was a strong critic of ← 101 | 102 → Confucianism and Taoism. A movement, called Mohism, was created around him.

His teachings are known thanks to a text entitled Mozi. This text is probably the work of his pupils and it was a long time in creation. It originally included 71 chapters, 53 of which have preserved until now. It is because Mohism as a philosophical school ceased to exist. Several of its concepts survived because other schools adopted them. Techniques of argumentation and logic, works of geometry, optics and mechanics and some political opinions and emphasis on the practical side of life became influential....

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