Global Philosophy Reading Group

Yale’s Global Philosophy Reading Group welcomes you to join us for about six Fridays per term to discuss primary sources in translation and analyze English-language scholarship on global philosophical traditions, with about 20-40 pages of reading per session. These discussions will allow us to add detail to our mental maps of philosophy and reflect on our own hermeneutic decisions. We also host guest lectures by scholars of global philosophical traditions once or twice per term.

In Fall 2023, we will do a deep dive into the Mozi. Although the Mohists (i.e., the group of intellectuals in Warring States China who probably followed after Mozi and wrote the text that bears his name) are often hailed as the world’s first consequentialists in Effective Altruism circles, they were practically forgotten in the Chinese philosophical tradition until the 20th century. We will read through the whole text in English and consider secondary scholarship when helpful or desired. Some potential topics for discussion include: were the Mohists really consequentialists? What lessons for Effective Altruism and contemporary ethics can we take away from the Mozi? Is the Mozi too heterogenous for us to distill any Mohist theories or values from it? What should we make of the Mozi’s extreme reverence for Heaven and ghosts? Do the intensely logical chapters at the conclusion of the text have a coherent aim, or are they just a catalogue of definitions?

Our themes in 2022-23 were weakness of will in the fall and skepticism in the spring, and we will decide on the spring theme near the end of the fall term. If you are interested, please write to to join our mailing list.