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Title: Mozi's root of politics: A reading of Shang Xian
Keywords: Mozi, Shang xian, Xian, Confucius, Acquisition, Benevolence
Issue Date: 3-Apr-2004
Citation: WEE TOON MENG (2004-04-03). Mozi's root of politics: A reading of Shang Xian. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The work of past commentaries on Mozia??s shang xian can be condensed into a single remark: Mozi hopes to replace inheritance with individual ability as the ordering principle, or root of politics. Yet this work fails to make the very notion of xian itself, which is implied in the practice of shang xian, the theme of its investigation. This essay aims to show that Mozia??s novel concept of xian, when understood in the light of Confuciusa?? morality of benevolence, founds a morality of acquisition, thereby accomplishing an absolute reversal of values. The original meaning of xian, within Confuciusa?? morality, is embodied by a man who devotes his life to striving for benevolence; opposed to that, the xiaoren spends his life pursuing acquisition. In this morality, benevolence is valued, while acquisition is disvalued. By defining the xian as a man who acquires better than other men, Mozi founds a morality that, in effect, values acquisition and disvalues benevolence, since Confuciusa?? xian reject acquisition as an end.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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