The summary that follows is that of Professor Zhang Yinzhi's complete paper, and not of the shortened version printed in this volume. It was edited by Professor N. Sivin, to whom the editors wish to express their appreciation.
Summary Views of time and space held by adherents of the Mohist school appear in six chapters of the Mo Zi (), known as the "Mohist canons," "Explanations of the canons," "Major illustrations," and "Minor illustrations." They were compiled ca. 300 B.C., which was a time of rapid economic development, when wars of conquest were frequent, and when political power and the relative strength of social classes were changing. As the possibilities of thought were explored by the socalled hundred schools of philosophy, the school led by Mo Zi (fl. ca. 350 B.C.) and named after him was the most systematic in its integration of all knowledge.
In the six late chapters of the Mo Zi, time and space are said to be infinite. This infinity is related to both the macrocosm and the microcosm so that finiteness and the infinite are dialectically integrated. This is a materialist view of time and space. The propositions concerning natural science in which it occurs are part of a larger set that integrates them with propositions concerning philosophical utilitarianism and moral and political views (of which the most famous is the Mohists' notion of universal love).
The Mohist arguments were part of contemporary debates in which time and space were at issue; the arguments of others who took part in this discussion will be examined. Mohist views may also be compared with those found in ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, and India. They are pertinent to the foundations of modern science, to experimental method, and to the mathematizaion of empirical observation.*
1. Background to Mohist Philosophy
From about 500 to 300 B.C. China underwent an era of rapid development in the modes of production (such as the extensive use of iron tools) as well as one of violent political change.____________________