Abstract

In response to the waste, violence, and destruction of his times, Mozi began teaching jianai 兼愛 (impartial regard), a reflection on Confucius’ Silver Rule (SR) and teaching of ren 仁 (humaneness). Mozi regarded the negative formulation of the SR as too passive, and the concomitant expressions of ren conduct as circumscribed by the li 禮 (ritual action) that supported hierarchical elite clans and courts. Accordingly, it is argued here that SR and ren practice contributed to harmony and stability within the elites but not among them. Jianai thus reflects a positive Golden Rule (GR) and enjoins a mutual concern that crosses hierarchical levels and clusters, involving a notion of justice as fairness and equity. As an ethical precept of both intrinsic validity and practical efficacy for Mozi’s chaotic world, jianai sits well with our human intuition of fairness and equity, and empirically is shown conducive to fair and positive outcomes. Today, we are increasingly aware of other peoples around the world but also know that our interconnected global village is radically imbalanced. Most of the wealth entering impoverished areas is siphoned off to elites and does not contribute adequately to disadvantaged communities. Could jianai, as corollary of the GR, provide a missing link in contemporary arguments for viewing justice as equity? It expresses a clear and compelling moral truth that encourages empathy and consideration toward others, and the sort of human intuition that economic and business theory attempt to conceal, to the advantage of the vested interests. Mozi saw jianai as a moral theme conducive to a harmonious, win-win society and world.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1898
Print ISSN
0031-8221
Pages
pp. 838-855
Launched on MUSE
2014-11-05
Open Access
No
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