Mozi (Mo Tzu, Mo4-zi3, Mohtzyy). In English occasionally referred to as Mocius or Mecius, on analogy with Confucius
. "Zi" is a title something like "Master"; his real name was Mo Di (Mo Ti, Mo4 Di2, Moh Dyi). The adjective meaning "having to do with Mozi" is spelled Mohist, perhaps so as to avoid confusion with moist
(see also final h in Chinese
). The book of writings attributed to Mozi and his school is also called the Mozi
Mozi (470-c. 391 B.C.E.) was Chinese philosopher of the Warring States period. His school significantly outshone the Confucianists during the time of Mencius, but lost influence in the late 3rd century B.C.E. and has never regained it since. For most of history he has been read chiefly as a curiosity and for factual information on details of the tools of war in his day.
Mozi advocates "universal love", by which he means not favoring strangers any less than one's own family members. Confucianists found this idea outrageous, since their ideal society uses family relationship as the blueprint for everything else. Mozi gives the impression of being extremely sincere and attempting to express himself with absolute patience and clarity, but his style ends up being plodding and repetitive. Burton Watson complains that
When so many early Chinese works are characterized by maddening ellipsis, it may seem ungrateful to complain of such painstaking clarity. Yet one has only to read the Mo Tzu to realize that if there is anything in Chinese worse than too much ellipsis it is none at all.
Living in a time of great upheaval and civil war
, Mozi and his followers spared no pains to rescue small states that were being attacked or under seige. So, although pacifist
s, they became experts at military techniques, especially seige-breakinjg. The Mohist school was characterized by firm organization and obedience to a chain of command.
In addition to military matters, the Mozi also contains sections on logic. Since sophistry was an important profession for Warring States scholars, it may be that the Mohists studied logic as part of their training to prevent war.
Because Mo means "ink", it is thought that Mozi himself may have had his face tattooed, presumably as a punishment.
The selections translated by Burton Watson are the most accessible English-language version of his writings. More detailed discussion of Mozi's views is noded at Mohism.