The Mozi and Just War Theory in Pre-Han Thought

in Journal of Chinese Military History
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

The Mozi presents one of history’s earliest discussions of the justification for war. Mozi and his followers held that although unprovoked aggression is always unjustified, defensive war and punitive aggression may sometimes be warranted. However, their criteria of just war are so stringent as to permit only defensive war, rendering offensive, punitive war nearly impossible to justify. The article reviews discussions of just war in the Mozi and other pre-Han texts and discusses how The Annals of Lü Buwei presents a conception of “righteous arms” as an alternative to the Mohist privileging of defensive over offensive war. I argue that, with minor refinements, the Mohist view answers the Annals’ criticisms while underscoring problems concerning the justification of aggression that the Annals overlooks. The article highlights how features of early Chinese justifications for war—most importantly, the analogy between just war and criminal punishment—raise deep problems for the justification of aggression.

The Mozi and Just War Theory in Pre-Han Thought

in Journal of Chinese Military History

Sections

References

AllenNick SorabjiRichardRodinDavid “Just War in the Mahabharata The Ethics of War: Shared Problems in Different Traditions 2006 Aldershot Ashgate 138 149

AnagnostopoulosGeorgios AnagnostopoulosGeorgios “Aristotle’s Works and the Development of His Thought” A Companion to Aristotle 2009 Oxford Blackwell 14 27 2009

BoltzWilliam KernMartin “The Composite Nature of Early Chinese Texts” Text and Ritual in Early China 2005 Seattle University of Washington Press 50 78 2005

BrekkeTorkel BrekkeTorkel “Between Prudence and Heroism: Ethics of War in the Hindu Tradition” The Ethics of War in Asian Civilizations 2006 Oxon Routledge 113 144

BrindleyErica Fox Ancient China and the Yue 2015 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

Cao Shenggao曹勝高 “Yibinglun yu Qin-Han junshi de hefaxing chanshi” 義兵論與秦漢軍爭的合法性闡釋 Gudai wenming 古代文明 2014 April 8 2 102 111 2014

ClooneyFrancis X. S. J. RobinsonPaul Pain but Not Harm: Some Classical Resources toward a Hindu Just War Theory Just War in Comparative Perspective 2003 Burlington, VT Ashgate 109 125 2003

DefoortCarineStandaertNicolas The Mozi as an Evolving Text 2013 Leiden Brill

DodsMarcus Augustine City of God 2000 New York Random House

Van ElsPaul DefoortCarineStandaertNicolas “How to End Wars with Words: Three Argumentative Strategies by Mozi and His Followers” The Mozi as an Evolving Text: Different Voices in Early Chinese Thought 2013A Leiden Brill 69 94

Van ElsPaul LorgePeter “Righteous, Furious, or Arrogant? On Classifications of Warfare in Early Chinese Texts” Debating War in Chinese History 2013B Leiden Brill 13 40

FraserChris “Doctrinal Developments in mz 14-16” Warring States Papers 2010A I 132 136 (2010)

FraserChris “Thematic Relationships in mz 8-10 and 11-13” Warring States Papers 2010B I 137 142 (2010)

FraserChris ZaltaEdward “Mohism” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2015 Winter 2015 Edition Stanford, CA Metaphysics Research Lab url: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/entries/mohism/. [Originally published 2001.]

FraserChris The Philosophy of the Mozi: The First Consequentialists 2016 New York Columbia University Press

GodehardtNadine “The Chinese Meaning of Just War and Its Impact on the Foreign Policy of the People’s Republic of China” GIGA Working Papers 2008 88 Hamburg German Institute of Global and Area Studies 2008

GraffDavid A. HenselHoward M. “The Chinese Concept of Righteous War” The Prism of Just War 2010 Burlington, VT Ashgate 195 216 2010

GrahamA. C. Disputers of the Tao 1989 La Salle, IL Open Court Publishing

GrahamA. C. LoeweMichael Mo tzu 墨子” Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide 1993 Berkeley, CA The Society for the Study of Early China and The Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley 336 341 1993

HungWilliam A Concordance to Mozi 1948 Supplement no. 21 Peiping Yenching University Press Harvard-Yenching Institute Sinological Index Series 1948

HungWilliam A Concordance to Zhuangzi 1956 Supplement no. 20 Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press Harvard-Yenching Institute Sinological Index Series 1956

HungWilliam A Concordance to Xunzi 1966 Supplement no. 22 Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press Harvard-Yenching Institute Sinological Index Series 1966

KaneThomas RobinsonPaul “Inauspicious Tools: Chinese Thought on the Morality of Warfare” Just War in Comparative Perspective 2003 Burlington, VT Ashgate 139 152 2003

Kang Jingbiao 康經彪 “Xianqin de yizhan sixiang” 先秦的義戰思想 Whampoa—An Interdisciplinary Journal 黃埔學報 2006 51 125 141 (2006)

KnoblockJohnRiegelJeffrey The Annals of Lü Buwei 2000 Stanford Stanford University Press

LauD. C. Confucius: The Analects 1979 London Penguin Books

LauD. C.ChingChen Fong A Concordance to the Militarists 1992 Hong Kong Commercial Press

LauD. C.WahHo CheChingChen Fong A Concordance to the Mengzi 1995 Hong Kong Commercial Press

LewisMark BrekkeTorkel “The Just War in Early China” The Ethics of War in Asian Civilizations 2006 Oxon Routledge 185 200

Lin Hongbin 林鴻彬 Lüshi Chunqiu zhi yibing sixiang”《呂氏春秋》之義兵思想 Fuda zhongyansuo xuekan 輔大中研所學刊 2002 no. 12 95 112 [Journal of the Graduate Institute of Chinese Literature Fu Jen Catholic University] 2002

LoeweMichael Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide 1993 Berkeley, CA The Society for the Study of Early China and The Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley

LorgePeter LorgePeter “Introduction” Debating War in Chinese History 2013 Leiden Brill 1 11

LoyHui-chieh LoPing-cheungTwissSumner B. Chinese Just War Ethics: Origin Development and Dissent 2015 New York Routledge 226 248

Luo Yaozhen 羅耀軫 Lüshi Chunqiu zhi yibing zhuzhang” 呂氏春秋之義兵主張 Mingxin xuebao 明新學報 1986 no. 6 31 45 1986

MaederErik “Some Observations on the Composition of the ‘Core Chapters’ of the Mozi Early China 1992 17 27 82 (1992)

MorkeviciusValerie HenselHoward M. “Hindu Perspectives on War” The Prism of Just War 2010 Burlington, VT Ashgate 169 191 2010

MoselyAlexander FieserJamesDowdenBradley “Just War Theory” The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2009 url: http://www.iep.utm.edu/justwar/

Van NordenBryan Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism in Early Chinese Philosophy 2007 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

OrendBrian ZaltaEdward “War” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2008 url: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/war/

OrendBrian The Morality of War 2013 2nd ed Peterborough, Ont. Broadview Press

RickettW. Allyn Guanzi: Political Economic and Philosophical Essays from Early China 1985 Vol. I Princeton Princeton University Press

RoyKaushik Hinduism and the Ethics of Warfare in South Asia 2012 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

SawyerRalph D. The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China 1993 2007 paperback edition New York Basic Books

StrobleJames “Justification of War in Ancient China” Asian Philosophy 1998 8 165 190 (1998)

WongBenjaminLoyHui-chieh “War and Ghosts in Mozi’s Political Philosophy” Philosophy East and West 2004 54 343 363 (2004)

Wu Jin’an 吳進安 Mojia zhexue 墨家哲學 2003 Taipei Wunan Publishing

Yan Changyao 顏昌嶢 Guanzi jiaoshi 管子校釋 1996 Changsha Yuelu 1996 [Original preface 1924.]

Zeng Guoyuan 曾國垣 Xianqin zhanzheng zhexue 先秦戰争哲學 1972 Taipei Taiwan Commercial Press

Zhang Lu 張露 “Zhongxi zhengyi zhanzheng sixiang bijiao fenxi” 中西正義戰争思想比較分析 Xiandai guoji guanxi 現代國際關係 2005 no. 4 15 20 2005

1

See for example Lin 2002Lewis 2006 Godehart 2008 Van Els 2013B and especially Graff 2010.

4

Knoblock and Riegel 200027.

5

Lewis 2006191-92. Lewis suggests that this theory of just arms formed the core of later Chinese views of justified warfare.

6

Lorge 201310.

8

Orend 201310-12.

9

Orend 201315-16.

18

Lewis 2006187.

24

Van Norden 2007174.

27

Van Norden 2007176makes this observation.

56

This point is emphasized by Wong and Loy 2004354-55. See too Van Els 2013A 84-91.

64

Yan 1996243-44also Rickett 1985 393. Rickett tentatively suggests a late Warring States date for this text.

65

Sawyer 1993115 places the Sima Fa in roughly the middle of the fourth century bce.

66

Lau and Chen 1992“Ren Ben” D1/45/18 also Sawyer 1993 127. Index numbers from Lau and Chen 1992 can be used with the concordance search tool at the Chinese Text Project http://ctext.org/tools/concordance.

67

Sawyer 1993117-18.

70

Lau et al. 1995B“Liang Hui Wang shang” 1.5/2/28-1.5/3/2. Index numbers from Lau et al. 1995B can be used with the concordance tool at the Chinese Text Project (http://ctext.org/tools/concordance).

72

See for example Lau 19792:1 2:3 and 12:19.

75

Graff 2010204-5.

81

Stroble 1998174.

86

Graff 2010202. The phrase “yi bing” also occurs in the Wuzi 吳子 in a list of five types of military forces where it is explained as “prohibiting violence and rescuing from disorder” (Lau and Chen 1992 C1/36/29-30 also Sawyer 1993 208). However the extant Wuzi text may be of later date than the Annals (Sawyer 1993 192). One passage in the Mengzi uses the phrase yi zhan 義戰 to refer to justified warfare in which a sovereign authority punishes a subordinate (“Jin Xin xia” 14.2/73/14) but the text does not elaborate on the concept.

98

Stroble 1998175.

107

Graff 2010208 suggests that the Mohists reject the idea of jus in bello quoting a passage that criticizes a Ruist description of humane conduct toward retreating soldiers. However the passage cited (Mozi “Fei Ru xia” 39/21-26) indicates only that morally vicious soldiers targeted by punitive warfare should not be spared. It need not imply that the Mohists reject jus in bello guidelines for humane conduct toward morally worthy opponents or innocent non-combatants.

108

As Loy 2015244 emphasizes the Mohists’ rhetorical aim of persuading rulers to eliminate military conflict tends to lead them away from detailed discussion of jus in bello.

109

Wong and Loy 2004347 raise this worry as does Graff 2010 209-10.

112

Zhang 200519-20 notes the role of shared belief in a universal Christian religious authority in underpinning Western conceptions of just war and stresses the absence of any counterpart belief in the Chinese tradition. However he seems to overlook how the ideal of tianxia—the community of all under heaven—and the concept of Heaven’s mandate might fill a comparable role in grounding claims about the justification for war in Chinese discourse.

113

Godehardt 200824-26 aptly captures these features of the classical Chinese worldview noting that the early Chinese tradition lacks a distinction between international and domestic conflict both being considered disruptions of social order and that a just war waged by an emperor is more similar to a police action than to a military one. By way of comparison Brekke 2006 119-20 suggests that one explanation for the intense interest in the justification of war in the European tradition and its relative absence in the Hindu tradition is that European thinkers drew a fundamental distinction between violence against external enemies and against internal enemies whereas Hindu thinkers did not. The use of military power against external entities must be justified whereas its use against internal enemies is merely an exercise of legitimate authority within the ruler’s jurisdiction.

114

Stroble 1998175 underscores these points.

115

Lau and Chen 1992“Ren Ben” D1/45/18-22 also Sawyer 1993 127.

116

Graff 2010205.

117

Lin 200299 sees the Annals’ response to Mohist objections to wars of aggression as hinging on the implicit claim that only through the emergence of a single unifying regime can warfare be brought to an end. He does not consider how critics such as the Mohists might have replied.

118

Stroble 1998175 and Graff 2010 208 both stress this point.

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 35 35 14
Full Text Views 10 10 10
PDF Downloads 4 4 4
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0