The Tension Between Divine Command Theory and Utilitarianism in Mozi and George Berkeley: A Comparison

Philosophy East and West 70 (3):740-756 (2020)
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Mozi and George Berkeley are philosophers who are not often put into conversation. However, I argue that comparing them can shed some light on the relationship between certain philosophical positions and their resulting moral philosophies. Specifically, I will draw attention to the way that their lack of interest in an appearance-reality distinction and in "essence" gives rise to a tension between consequentialism and divine command theory. These similarities exist despite the fact that Mozi and Berkeley otherwise have quite distinct views. For example, Mozi's dao-centered theoretical orientation leads him to assume that the world simply is as it is given through our senses, whereas Berkeley holds that the world is...

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Michael Hemmingsen
Tunghai University

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References found in this work

Is mo Tzu a utilitarian?Dennis M. Ahern - 1976 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 3 (2):185-193.
Mo Tzu and the foundations of morality.David E. Soles - 1999 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 26 (1):37-48.
Berkeley by George Pitcher. [REVIEW]Margaret Atherton - 1979 - Journal of Philosophy 76 (1):42-52.
Another look at utilitarianism in mo‐Tzu's thought.Dirck Vorenkamp - 1992 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 19 (4):423-443.

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