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C O U R S E 
Chinese Thought: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science
Edward Slingerland, University of British Columbia
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Mozi and Materialist State Consequentialism
Notes taken on March 28, 2017 by Edward Tanguay
Mozi (468-391 BCE)
the "zi" means master
Mozi = Master Mo
Laozi = Master Lao
lived after Confucius (551-479 BCE)
lived before Mencius (390-310 BCE)
one of the principal interpreters of Confucianism
The Mozi
expounds the philosophy of Mohism
structured much like the Analects
collected after he died
may have penned some of the chapters
disciples were organized more like an army
organized into cells
each of the cells had its own master
each cell could have sub-cells which had their own masters
after Mozi died, each of the three Mozi lineages fought among themselves to determine who was the most orthodox one
there are three versions of the same chapters
each chapter has a theme, and a title that tells you what the chapter is about
chapters are reasonably well-argued argument
structured around themes in a coherent way
writing style
plodding and repetitive
how do we know x, this is how we know x
it's dry in English and it's dry in Chinese
it's bad classical Chinese style
the Daodejing is beautifully poetic
has a mystical language
the Analects are also a very high level of literary achievement
the Mozi is dry
in the Hanfeizi chapter, there is a defense of the style
that it is deliberate
they are rationalists
they want you to follow this rational argument
they don't want you to be distracted by fancy rhetoric
Mozi and his followers were self-educated people
they are not coming from a hereditary elite
didn't learn classical Chinese at an early age
Mozi was probably a carpenter
uses many craft metaphors
one of his innovations was using these metaphors of crafts and applying it to philosophy
very pragmatic
doesn't seem to need for elaborate music or funerals
Mozian consequentialism
the ethical thing to do is decided by weighing its consequences
weigh the consequences of behavior x
these good things happen
these bad things happen
different types of consequentialism, vary on:
which types of consequentialism you want to maximize
which perspective you are varying it from, i.e. consequences for whom
kinds of consequentialists
happy consequentialists
maximize happiness and well-being
this is vague
most contemporary consequentialists in the West
GDP consequentialists
maximize Gross Domestic Product
anything that increases it is good
anything that decreases it is bad
theistic consequentialists
anything that increases devotion to diety is good
anything that decreases devotion to diety is bad
consequences for whom
the individual
the city
the state
action x could maximize material wealth for you personally, but not for the state
Mozi is a materialist, state consequentialist
the goal is to maximize material well-being for the state
well-being for him meant physical goods
believes that people are only motivated by material motives
even if they talk about idealistic concepts
"If an official has a high-sounding title but a meager stipend, he can hardly inspire the confidence of the people."
the only thing that is going to motivate people to be part of your government is a proper salary
use money to motivate people and inspire respect
differences to Confucius
love of the Way
you can and should endure material privations in order to align yourself with the Way
even starving to death was a good if you had the Way
rejection of wu-wei as an ideal
Mozi is a rationalist ethicist
favors cold cognition
ethics is about thinking rationally in a cold way and in engaging in cognitive control
he's deeply suspicious of hot cognition
it will lead to chaos
he feels this is what the problem was with the Warring States
we are born rough
our hot cognition is going to lead to chaos
it needs to get reshaped by Confucian culture
the key is to transform our hot cognition into something beautiful
our hot cognition has been messed up by society
if you're able to read, you are literate and part of the elite, and hence already too messed up
we have to repress these added desires that we have been taught, forget them, get rid of them, to get back to the hot cognition that we would have if we were in touch with our nature
hot cognition is itself the problem
but you can't change it
what you can do is harness it with cold cognition, i.e. reasoning, to make it behave in ways that are rational
we won't change our basic motivation but will apply external systems of punishments and rewards to get people to make certain choices
in this way using cost and benefit analysis to engineer the kind of society and behavior that is more rational
you don't need to change your inborn psychology, but be institutionalized exteriorly through reason
and we will rely on their rationality to understand the benefits of the Mozian Way