Geography Reference
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and trying to injure them. And when we set out to classify and describe
those men who hate and injure others, shall we say that their actions are
motivated by universality or partiality? Surely we must answer, by par-
tiality, and it is this partiality in their dealings with one another that
gives rise to all the great harms in the world. Therefore we know that
partiality is wrong. (Watson 1963, 39)
The teaching of universal love shocked Confucianists, particularly
Mencius, who constantly railed against it and upheld a strict social
and familial hierarchy as essential to social stability and political order.
Mo-ism eventually failed in China, perhaps because the polemics of
Mencius and Zhuangzi (Master Zhuang, a Taoist philosopher who
explained Taoist teachings through wit, parody, and parable) against
it were so effective. Mozi's teachings were, according to Frederick
W. Mote, “distinct from all others ever enunciated by any philosopher
or teacher in Chinese history” (Mote 1971, 88). Perhaps this explains its
demise in China: Mo-ismwas simply too strange, too much at variance
with Eastern Zhou experience and observation:
We must conclude that the most aberrant feature of Moism within the
intellectual and cultural milieu of early China was its failure to accom-
modate to some basic psychological factors. It displayed no awareness
of natural human feelings and their influence on the way societies work.
In the ancient anti-Mo-ist critiques of most telling significance, Moism
was “contrary to the hearts of all men,” as Chuang-tzu [Zhuangzi]
put it. (Mote 1971, 90)
Ancient China had a tight system of logic and finely distinguished
analytical categories, but the Chinese of the Eastern Zhou were not
impressed with it and dismissed it as trivial and unimportant. One
school called the “Logicians” (sometimes also called “Dialecticians”
or “Nominalists”) seem to have approximated Western standards of
logic and hair-splitting ontological distinctions.
By far the most famous passage from a Logician philosopher con-
cerns definitions and conceptualizations. It comes from the Gongsun
Longzi, a topic written by the Logician Gongsun Long. Imagine Gongsun
Long riding a horse and approaching a gate guarded by a gatekeeper.
“Horses are not allowed beyond this gate,” the gatekeeper informs him.
“This is not a horse but a white horse,” Gongsun Long replies and then
rides brazenly through. The point? “Horseness,” “whiteness,” and
“white horseness” are distinct and exclusive categories.
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