Mo Tzu

views updated Jun 11 2018

Mo Tzu (honorific title, ‘ Teacher Mo’, given to Mo Ti, c.470–c.380 BCE). Leading philosopher among the ‘hundred philosophers’ of early China. He was educated in the classic texts, and may for a time have followed Confucius; but he strongly opposed Confucianism for its agnosticism about heaven (tʾien) and spiritual beings, and its preoccupation with ritual. He advocated an attitude of love (ai) to all beings, not just toward family or those from whom reciprocal favours can be expected. This love, which is central to Mo Tzu's teaching, means regarding all as equally deserving of it. Extravagant activities, and above all warfare, should be abandoned. All this is in accord with the will of Tʾien, now personified as actively seeking the practice of love.


views updated Jun 08 2018


c. 470-c. 391 b.c.

Chinese philosopher, also known as Mo ti, who provided what may be the earliest account of a camera obscura. In about 400 b.c. Mo-tzu observed reflected light rays from an illuminated object passing through a pinhole into a otherwise completely dark room. He noted that these create a precisely inverted image of the original object. More than 2,200 years later, this principle would influence the development of the camera.