The Mozi is one of the small number of key texts surviving from the first flowering of Chinese philosophy during the Warring States period (403–221 BC). In structure, the Mozi comprises five distinct parts.
Part I, the Epitomes, contains seven short essays on elements of Mohist doctrine. Part II, the "Core Doctrines," contains twenty-four chapters: twenty-three from the presumed thirty original chapters, arranged as ten triads, which set out the ten central doctrines of Mo Zi's ethical, social and political philosophy, and one of the two presumed chapters articulating Mo Zi's opposition to Confucianism. Part III, on "dialectics," contains six chapters on logic, language, disputation, ethics, science and other matters, attributed to the Later Mohists and written, in part at least, in defence of the original Mohist doctrines. Part IV, the Dialogues, contains five chapters made up of lively conversations, edifying anecdotes and gnomic utterances, a form more characteristic of the philosophical writing of the time. Part V, on the defence of a city, contains eleven chapters detailing the principles and practices of defensive warfare, a subject on which Master Mo was acknowledged as the leading authority of the time. The Mozi is, then, a rich and varied work, and yet it has been sadly neglected, both in China and the West. This is the first English translation of the complete work and the first bilingual version in any European language.
Ian Johnston is an independent scholar pursuing a lifelong interest in ancient languages, including translations of Chinese classics such as the Mozi, the Daxue & Zhongyong. (with Wang Ping), two volumes of poetry, and selections from Gu Yanwu’s writings. His Greek translations are from the works of Galen, the second century CE doctor. Johnston was Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Sydney before retirement in 1999.