Don Wyatt
Middlebury College
The Philosophy of Peace (MZ 17-19)
Panel: War and Peace in Early China
AAS Convention, Boston, Saturday 24 March 2007

Don Wyatt


We can hardly dispute that one outcome of the preeminent attention given to the Mician ethical principle of jyen-ai (universal love, impartial caring) has been that of rendering the question of whether Mwodz actually foresees an eventual end to war rhetorical. If we are to extrapolate from the premises and assertions that have come down to us, the end result of the full application of jyen-ai would necessarily be a warless world, in which the operative Mician policy of fei-gung (defensive warfare, anti-warfare) would become unnecessary. But, acknowledging the Mician assumption of the need for force to bring about the universal application of jyen-ai and to ensure its continuance, the obsolescence of fei-gung seems far from a foregone conclusion. Hence, the Mician stance on the ultimate termination of all warfare remains, if not an entirely open question, then at the very least one involving a potentially paradoxical solution.

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