Back to Blog Posts

Lecture, 9/23

Originally Posted on admin, September 23, 2009

News & Publications

Santa Fe 
Lecture, 9/23: Alternative to Confucianism

Who:     Michael Bybee, Tutor, St. John’s College – Santa Fe

What:    Dean’s Lecture and Concert Series

Title:     “MoZi, the Alternative to Confucianism”

Where:  Junior Common Room, Peterson Student Center, St. John’s College

When:    Wednesday, September 23, 3:15 p.m.

Details:   This lecture is free of charge, open to the public, and followed by a question-and-answer period.

This is the fifth lecture in the Fall 2009 Dean’s Lecture and Concert Series. Open to the community, the free lectures offer an opportunity to explore a deeper reading of books in the St. John’s Program as well as other topics.

In this lecture, St. John’s tutor Michael Bybee explores Mohism, an alternative to Confucianism. In pre-Imperial China, two rival schools competed for civil service appointments, one that traced its roots back to Confucius (Ruhism) and one that traced its roots to MoZi (Mohism).  MoZi’s bitter critique of Ruhist philosophy was so potent that all succeeding Chinese philosophers, even non-Ruhists, had to defend against his insights. Yet modern non-Chinese readers often dismiss Mohist thought as naive, poorly reasoned, and vapid. What might a careful reader find in MoZi to defend against these calumnies?

Mike Bybee has been a tutor at the college since 1996. He holds a doctorate in philosophy and has taught philosophy, English, and rhetoric on college campuses in California, Idaho, and Oregon.