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Rethinking Mozi’s Jian’ai: The Rule to Care

  • Youngsun BackEmail author
Article

Abstract

Mozi’s 墨子 doctrine of impartial care (jian’ai 兼愛) has been interpreted predominantly through the lens of Mengzi 孟子, that is, as “love without distinctions” versus “love with distinctions.” However, I think Mengzi saw only half of the picture, as his focus was exclusively on the difference between Confucianism and Mohism in regard to the scope, intensity, and sequence of love. In this essay, I argue that Mozi’s impartial care is also characteristically different in kind from the Confucian notion of humaneness (ren 仁). My analysis and comparison of their usage of the word ai 愛 shows that Mozi’s ai is material-oriented care, while the Confucian ai is emotion-oriented care. I further argue that Mozi had this particular understanding of care largely because he held a quite negative view of human emotions. For him, human emotions are unreliable and harmful for the practice of care.

Keywords

Mozi 墨子 Confucius Mengzi 孟子 Jian’ai 兼愛 Impartial care Emotion 

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Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Philip J. Ivanhoe, Eirik Lang Harris, Sungmoon Kim, Richard Kim, Myeong-seok Kim and two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful criticisms and suggestions on an earlier version of this essay. This essay was supported by Samsung Research Fund, Sungkyunkwan University, 2018.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Confucian Studies and Eastern Philosophy, Faculty Hall, 40317Sungkyunkwan UniversitySeoulKorea

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