Digital Dialogue: Comparisons and Transcultural Dialogues: Universal Love in Mohism and Christianity With Assoc. Prof. Yun WU (Shanghai) and Prof. Dr. Thorsten Moos (Heidelberg)

This Digital Dialogue was co-organized by the Heidelberg “Epochal Lifeworlds” Team and the Confucius Institute at the University of Heidelberg with its partner university, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Wu Yun, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Jiao Tong University, and Thorsten Moos, Professor of Theology at the Heidelberg University, engaged in a dialogue on justifications of and engagements with ‘universal love’, with the potential of comparative ethics and universalist claims.

Different Justifications of Universal Love —A Comparison of the Mohist and Christian Ideas of Universal Love (Assoc. Prof. Yun WU)


Scholars often accentuate the affinity and even identity between the Mohist and Christian universal love. More than that, many of them even believe that both argue for an unconditional love. This paper argued however, that both propositions of universal love are not unconditional, as Mohism and Christianity propose “not harming others” and “the love of God” respectively as prerequisite of universal love. Upholding these two different prerequisites as the fundamental principle of justice entails two essentially different orientations of their universal love: humanism for Mohism and theism for Christianity.


About the speaker: Yun WU is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. She received her PhD in 2012 from the Tsinghua University’s Department of Philosophy. Her dissertation topic was Locke and Rawls: Liberalism’s Contractual Justification of Toleration. For several years she tried to gain insight into toleration, equality, utility, and justice in political philosophy from comparative perspective. Most of her research publications are related to these subjects, such as “Is Mohism Really Li-promotionalism?” Asian Philosophy: An International Journal of the Philosophical Traditions of the East, 31:4, 430-440 (2021), “The Mohist Notion of Gongyi 公義”,Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, 19:269-287 (2020), and so on. Her academic interests include Mohism, Confucianism, and Chinese modern philosophy.

Doing Universality in Particular Religious Ethics – the Christian Example (Prof. Dr. Thorsten Moos)


Religions, especially Christianity, have often made universal validity claims concerning the true, the good and the right. Nonetheless, every specific religion is particular. In contemporary Western Christianity, there is a growing awareness of its own particularity. How does this affect its claim to universality? Starting with some comments on the paper by Yun Wu, I will elaborate the systematic problem of doing universality in particular religious ethics.


About the speaker: Thorsten Moos studied Theoretical Physics and Protestant Theology in Regensburg and Berlin as well as at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, where he also received his PhD. From 2010 to 2017 he was head of the research area “Religion, Law, Culture” at the Protestant Institute of Interdisciplinary Research (FEST) in Heidelberg. His habilitation at the Ruperto Carola was followed in 2017 by a call to a professorship at the Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal / Bethel. From 2019 on, he was head of the Institute for Diaconia Science and Diaconia Management there. Since 2021, Thorsten Moos has been Professor of Systematic Theology / Ethics at the Theological Faculty of Heidelberg University. His research interests include bioethics and medical ethics as well as theological anthropology and the concept of illness.