The 1930’s Debates between Taiwanese Confucianism and Mohism: On the Early History, Discourses, and Colonial Situation
The 1930’s debates between Taiwanese Confucianism and Mohism were important in the traditional academic community during the Japanese colonial period. Between April to September of 1930, almost fifty articles were issued in Taiwan’s newspapers in six months. The authors included Huang Chun-Qing (黃純青), Lien Ya-Tang (連雅堂), Chang Chun-Pu (張純甫), Yan Hu-Shan (顏笏山). There are three primary significances in the debates between Taiwanese Confucianism and Mohism for the history of thought in Taiwan.
First, an investigation into the history of Mohism in Taiwan reveals that the general mood of Chinese and Japanese learning had a very important influence on the development of Mohism in Taiwan. The development of Mohism in Taiwan was based on the comparison between Western learning and Mohism in Chinese, as well as the impersonal attitude of academic research in Japan.
Second, advocates of Mohism had a key motivation and goal for initiating the debates, which was to give rise to public administrative matters and demonstrate the collective interest in Mohism. To achieve this goal, they had to dispel the prejudices regarding the conflict between Mohism and Confucian ethics, which was the major controversy in these debates. However, the “debates on Mohism practice” and the “subject of textual research” were minor matters in the debates between Taiwanese Confucianism and Mohism.
Third, the “colonial situation” was the catalyst for the debates between Taiwanese Confucianism and Mohism. At the time, most Taiwanese traditional scholars were concerned that Confucian morals were going to wither away in the colonial system, and so they were very sensitive to any discourses which were weakening Confucian morals. As such, this constituted an important reason for participation in the debates.
Keywords: Debates on Taiwanese Confucianism and Mohism, Huang Chun-Qing (黃純青), Chang Chun-Pu (張純甫), Ten Discourses Against Mohism (非墨十說), Lien Ya-