"Excerpts from Mozi" Discussion Questions

  1. What is it to be impartial, according to Mozi, and why should we prefer that others be impartial? Do you think that true impartiality is possible? Explain why you think what you do.
  2. Mozi holds that impartiality is preferable to partiality. Why does he think this? What are some of the objections he considers to his view, and how does he respond to them? How might an advocate of partiality respond to Mozi’s reasoning?
  3. To argue that impartiality is possible, Mozi refers to a number of past kings who have been impartial. Explain in what ways these kings were impartial, according to the text. Using these descriptions, give a fuller picture of what impartiality involves. In light of this picture of impartiality, are you convinced that we should live impartial lives?
  4. Why do you think that it is important, for Mozi, that we simplify the things in our life, making them only to be useful? How does this seem to fit into his larger views about how a ruler can improve the lives of the people living in a state? Do you see any worries about Mozi’s views? What are they? Do you think Mozi is ultimately correct? Why/why not?
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