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Legalism or ''Fajia'' is one of the six classical schools of thought in
Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as wel ...
. Literally meaning "house of (administrative) methods / standards (法, Fa)", the Fa "
school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is sometimes compulsor ...
" represents several branches of "men of methods", in the west often termed " realist" statesmen,who played foundational roles in the construction of the bureaucratic Chinese empire.Peng He 2011. p. 646. The Difference of Chinese Legalism and Western Legalism The earliest persona of the Fajia may be considered
Guan Zhong Guan Zhong (; c. 720–645 BC) was a Chinese philosopher and politician. He served as Grand chancellor (China), chancellor and was a reformer of the Qi (state), State of Qi during the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. His given name ...
(720–645 BC), but following the precedent of the '' Han Feizi'' (c. 240 BC),
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded ...
figures
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
(400–337 BC) and
Shang Yang Shang Yang (; c. 390 – 338 BC), also known as Wei Yang () and originally surnamed Gongsun, was a Chinese jurist, philosopher, and politician.Antonio S. Cua (ed.), 2003, p. 362, ''Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy'"The fifth important legali ...
(390–338 BC) have commonly been taken as its "founders." Commonly thought of as the greatest of all "Legalist" texts, the ''Han Feizi'' is believed to contain the first commentaries on the ''
Dao De Jing The ''Tao Te Ching'' (, ; ) is a Chinese classic text Chinese classic texts or canonical texts () or simply dianji (典籍) refers to the Chinese texts which originated before the imperial unification by the Qin dynasty in 221 BC, parti ...
'' in history.Ewan Ferlie, Laurence E. Lynn, Christopher Pollitt 2005 p. 30, ''The Oxford Handbook of Public Management''Pines, Yuri, "Legalism in Chinese Philosophy", ''The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy'' (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 1. Defining Legalism http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2014/entries/chinese-legalism/
Sun Tzu Sun Tzu ( ; zh, t=孫子, s=孙子, first= t, p=Sūnzǐ) was a Chinese military general, strategist, philosopher, and writer who lived during the Eastern Zhou period of 771 to 256 BCE. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of '' Th ...
's ''
The Art of War ''The Art of War'' () is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in History of China, Chinese history from approximately 770 to 476 BC (or according ...
'' incorporates both a Daoist philosophy of inaction and impartiality, and a "Legalist" system of punishment and rewards, recalling political philosopher
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
's concepts of power (勢, shì) and tactics (術, shù).Chen, Chao Chuan and Yueh-Ting Lee 2008 p. 12. Leadership and Management in China Temporarily coming to overt power as an ideology with the ascension of the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty ( ; zh, c=秦朝, p=Qín cháo, w=), or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles romanization ( zh, c=, p=, w=Ch'in ch'ao), was the first dynasty of Imperial China. Named for its heartland in Qin state (modern Gansu Gansu (, ; ...
, the
First Emperor Qin Shi Huang (, ; 259–210 BC) was the founder of the Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty ( ; zh, c=秦朝, p=Qín cháo, w=), or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles romanization ( zh, c=, p=, w=Ch'in ch'ao), was the first dynasty of Imperi ...
of Qin and succeeding emperors often followed the template set by Han Fei. Though the origins of the Chinese administrative system cannot be traced to any one person, the administrator Shen Buhai may have had more influence than any other on the construction of the
merit system The merit system is the process of promoting and hiring government employees based on their ability to perform a job, rather than on their political connections. It is the opposite of the spoils system. History The earliest known example of a m ...
, and might be considered its founder, if not valuable as a rare pre-modern example of abstract theory of administration.
Sinologist Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, Chinese language, language, Chinese literature, literature, Chinese culture, culture and History of China, history and ...
Herrlee G. Creel sees in Shen Buhai the "seeds of the civil service examination", and perhaps the first
political scientist Political science is the science, scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, political thought, political behavior, and associated c ...
.Creel, 1974. Shen Pu-hai: A Chinese Political Philosopher of the Fourth Century B.C.Paul R. Goldin, p. 16 Persistent Misconceptions about Chinese Legalism. https://www.academia.edu/24999390/Persistent_Misconceptions_about_Chinese_Legalism_ Concerned largely with administrative and sociopolitical innovation, Shang Yang was a leading reformer of his time. His numerous reforms transformed the peripheral Qin state into a militarily powerful and strongly centralized kingdom. Much of "Legalism" was "the development of certain ideas" that lay behind his reforms, which would help lead to Qin's ultimate conquest of the other states of China in 221 BC. Calling them the "theorists of the state", sinologist Jacques Gernet considered the Fajia to be the most important intellectual tradition of the fourth and third centuries BC. The Fajia pioneered the centralizing measures and the economic organization of the population by the state that characterized the entire period from the Qin to the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; zh, t= ), or Tang Empire, was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD, with an Zhou dynasty (690–705), interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dyn ...
; the
Han dynasty The Han dynasty (, ; ) was an imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 9 AD, 25–220 AD), established by Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao) and ruled by the House of Liu. The dynasty was preceded by the short-lived Qin dynasty (22 ...
took over the governmental institutions of the Qin dynasty almost unchanged. Legalism rose to prominence again in the twentieth century, when reformers regarded it as a precedent for their opposition to conservative Confucian forces.Charles Holcombe 2011 p. 42. A History of East Asia. https://books.google.com/books?id=rHeb7wQu0xIC&pg=PA42 As a student,
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also Romanization of Chinese, romanised traditionally as Mao Tse-tung. (26 December 1893 – 9 September 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the List of national founde ...
championed Shang Yang, and towards the end of his life hailed the anti-Confucian legalist policies of the Qin dynasty.


Historical background

The
Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ; Old Chinese (Reconstructions of Old Chinese#Baxter–Sagart (2014), B&S): *''tiw'') was a Dynasties in Chinese history, royal dynasty of China that followed the Shang dynasty. Having lasted 789 years, the Zhou dynasty was t ...
was divided between the masses and the hereditary noblemen. The latter were placed to obtain office and political power, owing allegiance to the local prince, who owed allegiance to the
Son of Heaven Son of Heaven, or ''Tianzi'' (), was the sacred monarchical title of the Chinese sovereign. It originated with the Zhou dynasty and was founded on the political and spiritual doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven. Since the Qin dynasty, the secula ...
.K. K. Lee, 1975 p. 24. Legalist School and Legal Positivism, Journal of Chinese Philosophy Volume 2. The dynasty operated according to the principles of Li and punishment. The former was applied only to aristocrats, the latter only to commoners. The earliest Zhou kings kept a firm personal hand on the government, depending on their personal capacities, personal relations between ruler and minister, and upon military might. The technique of centralized government being so little developed, they deputed authority to
feudal lord An overlord in the Kingdom of England, English Feudalism in England, feudal system was a lord of the manor, lord of a manor who had Subinfeudation, subinfeudated a particular Manorialism, manor, Estate in land, estate or fief, fee, to a Leaseho ...
s.Herrlee G. Creel, 1974 p. 124. Shen Pu-Hai: A Secular Philosopher of Administration, Journal of Chinese Philosophy Volume 1. When the Zhou kings could no longer grant new fiefs, their power began to decline,
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until a ...
s began to identify with their own regions, and schismatic hostility occurred between the Chinese states. Aristocratic families became very important, by virtue of their ancestral prestige wielding great power and proving a divisive force. In the
Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in History of China, Chinese history from approximately 770 to 476 BC (or according to some authorities until 403 BC) which corresponds roughly to the first half of the Eastern Zhou period. The period' ...
(771–476 BC), rulers began to directly appoint state officials to provide advice and management, leading to the decline of inherited privileges and bringing fundamental structural transformations as a result of what may be termed "social engineering from above". Most Warring States period thinkers tried to accommodate a "changing with the times" paradigm, and each of the schools of thought sought to provide an answer for the attainment of sociopolitical stability.Pines, Yuri, "Legalism in Chinese Philosophy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 1.2 Historical Context. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2014/entries/chinese-legalism/ Confucianism, commonly considered to be China's ruling ethos, was articulated in opposition to the establishment of legal codes, the earliest of which were inscribed on bronze vessels in the sixth century BC.David K Schneider May/June 2016 p. 20. China's New Legalism For the Confucians, the
Classics Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity. In the Western world, classics traditionally refers to the study of Classical Greek and Roman literature and their related original languages, Ancient Greek Ancient ...
provided the preconditions for knowledge. Orthodox Confucians tended to consider organizational details beneath both minister and ruler, leaving such matters to underlings, and furthermore wanted ministers to control the ruler. Concerned with "goodness", the Confucians became the most prominent, followed by the proto- Taoists and the administrative thought that Sima Tan termed the Fajia. But the Taoists focused on the development of inner powers, and both the Taoists and Confucians held a regressive view of history, the age being a decline from the era of the Zhou kings.


Introduction

In the four centuries preceding the first empire, a new type of ruler emerged intent on breaking the power of the aristocrats and reforming their state's bureaucracies.http://khayutina.userweb.mwn.de/LEGALISM_2013/FILES/Hulsewe_Legalists_Qin_Laws.pdf A. F. P. Hulsewe. The Legalists and the Laws of Ch'in. p. 1. As disenfranchised or opportunist aristocrats were increasingly attracted by the reform-oriented rulers, they brought with them philosophy concerned foremost with organizational methodology. Successful reforms made the so-called "Fajia" significant, promoting the rapid growth of the Qin state that applied reforms most thoroughly. The goal of the "Legalist" ruler was conquest and unification of all under heaven (or in the case of
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
at least defense), and the writings of
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
and other Fajia are almost purely practical, eschewing ethics in favour of strategy teaching the ruler techniques (shu) to survive in a competitive worldChen, Chao Chuan and Yueh-Ting Lee 2008 p. 110. Leadership and Management in China through administrative reform: strengthening the central government, increasing food production, enforcing military training, or replacing the aristocracy with a bureaucracy. Han Fei's prince must make use of Fa (administrative methods and standards), surround himself with an aura of wei (majesty) and shi (authority, power, influence),Jay L. Garfield, William Edelglass 2011, p. 65 The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy https://books.google.com/books?id=I0iMBtaSlHYC&pg=PA65 and make use of the art (shu) of statecraft. The ruler who follows Tao moves away from benevolence and righteousness, and discards reason and ability, subduing the people through Fa (statutes or administrative methods but implying objective measurements). Only an absolute ruler can restore the world. Though Han Fei espoused that his model state would increase the quality of life, he did not consider this a legitimizing factor (rather, a side-effect of good order). He focused on the functioning of the state, the ruler's role as guarantor within it, and aimed in particular at making the state strong and the ruler the strongest person within it. To this end,
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
and successor Han Fei are concerned in particular with "the role of the ruler and the means by which he may control a bureaucracy." Though the
syncretic Syncretism () is the practice of combining different beliefs and various school of thought, schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merging or religious assimilation, assimilation of several originally discrete traditions, especially in t ...
'' Han Feizi'' speaks on what may be termed law, what western scholarship termed the "Legalists" amongst other earlier terms, were concerned not mainly with law, but with administration. It has implications for the work of judges, but "contains no explicit judicial theory",Kenneth Winston p. 315. Singapore Journal of Legal Studies 005313–347. The Internal Morality of Chinese Legalism. http://law.nus.edu.sg/sjls/articles/SJLS-2005-313.pdf5Hansen, Chad. Philosophy East & West. Jul94, Vol. 44 Issue 3, p. 435. 54p. Fa (standards: laws) and meaning changes in Chinese philosophy. and is motivated "almost totally from the ruler's point of view".Roger T. Ames 1983. p. 50. Art of Rulership, The. https://books.google.com/books?id=OkTurZP__qAC&pg=PA50 Even the more "Legalistic" '' Book of Lord Shang'' still engages statutes more from an administrative standpoint, as well as addressing many other administrative questions.


Anti-ministerialism and human nature

The authority to make policy is a basic difference between
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a Religious Confucianism, religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, ...
and the Fajia. Proposing a return to feudal ideals, albeit his nobleman being anyone who possessed virtue, Confucians granted authority to "wise and virtuous ministers", allowed to "govern as they saw fit". In contrast, Shen Buhai and Shang Yang monopolized policy in the hands of the ruler, and Qin administrative documents focused on rigorous control of local officials, and the keeping of written records. Distinguished by their anti-ministerial stance, the Fajia rejected their Confucian contemporaries' espousal of a regime based solely on the charisma of the aristocrats, and much of Fajia's doctrines seek self-regulating and mechanically reliable, if not foolproof means to control or otherwise dispense with officials administering the state. Reducing the human element, the first of these is the universally applicable Fa (administrative methods and standards). Shen Buhai and his philosophical successor Han Fei considered the ruler to be in a situation of constant danger from his aides, and the target of Han Fei's standards, in particular, are the scholarly bureaucracy and ambitious advisers – the Confucians. Saying that "superior and inferior fight a hundred battles a day",Ross Terril 2003 p. 68. ''The New Chinese Empire''. https://books.google.com/books?id=TKowRrrz5BIC&pg=PA68 long sections of the ''Han Feizi'' provide example of how ministers undermined various rules, and focus on how the ruler can protect himself against treacherous ministers, strongly emphasizing their mutually different interests. Though not exceptional,
Sinologist Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, Chinese language, language, Chinese literature, literature, Chinese culture, culture and History of China, history and ...
Yuri Pines considers this selfish view of human nature to be a pillar of the Fajia, and a number of chapters of the ''Book of Lord Shang'' consider men naturally evil. The Fajia are therefore distinct from the Confucians (apart from their emphasis on Fa) in dismissing the possibility of reforming the elite, that being the ruler and ministers, or driving them by moral commitment. Every member of the elite pursues his own interests. Preserving and strengthening the ruler's authority against these may be considered the Fajia's "singularly pronounced political commitment". On rare occasions,
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
lauds such qualities as benevolence and proper social norms; with due consideration for the times they were living in however, the Fajia did not believe that the moral influence or virtue of the ruler was powerful enough to create order.Ellen Marie Chen, 1975 pp. 6–8, 10, 14 Reason and Nature in the Han Fei-Tzu, Journal of Chinese Philosophy Volume 2. Considering the power struggle between ruler and minister irreconcilable, and focusing on the prevention of evil rather than the promotion of good, the Fajia largely rejected the utility of both virtue and the Confucian rule of man, insisting on impersonal norms and regulations in their relations. Their approach was therefore primarily at the institutional level, aiming for a clear power structure, consistently enforced rules and regulations, and in the Han Feizi, engaging in sophisticated manipulation tactics to enhance power bases. Rather than aristocratic fiefs, Qin territory came under the direct control of the Qin rulers, directly appointing officials on the basis of their qualifications. With the state of Qin conquering all the Warring States and founding the "first" Chinese empire in 221 BC, the Fajia had succeeded in propelling state centralization and laying the foundations of Chinese bureaucracy, establishing "efficient and effective" codes that "became the pattern for Chinese politics for the next two millennia". The philosophies of the reformers fell with the Qin, but tendencies remained in the supposedly Confucian imperial government, and the Han Feizi would be studied by rulers in every dynasty. Hui even asserts that Confucianism's role in Chinese history is " omore than cosmetic", and Legalism is a more accurate description of the Chinese governmental tradition.


Antecedents: Guan Zhong and Mozi

Robert Eno of
Indiana University Indiana University (IU) is a state university system, system of Public university, public universities in the U.S. state of Indiana. Campuses Indiana University has two core campuses, five regional campuses, and two regional centers under the ...
writes that "If one were to trace the origins of Legalism as far back as possible, it might be appropriate to date its beginnings to the prime ministership of
Guan Zhong Guan Zhong (; c. 720–645 BC) was a Chinese philosopher and politician. He served as Grand chancellor (China), chancellor and was a reformer of the Qi (state), State of Qi during the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. His given name ...
(720–645 BC)", who "may be seen as the source of the notion that good government involved skilled systems design". The reforms of Guan Zhong applied levies and economic specializations at the village level instead of the aristocracy, and shifted administrative responsibility to professional bureaucrats. He valued education.Peng He 2014. p. 85. Chinese Lawmaking: From Non-communicative to Communicative. https://books.google.com/books?id=MXDABAAAQBAJ&pg=PA85 Guan Zhong and later
Mozi Mozi (; ; Latinization (literature), Latinized as Micius ; – ), original name Mo Di (), was a Chinese philosophy, Chinese philosopher who founded the school of Mohism during the Hundred Schools of Thought period (the early portion of the ...
(470-391BC) recommended objective, reliable, easily used,Bo Mou 2009 p. 143. Routledge History of Chinese Philosophy Volume 3. https://books.google.com/books?id=UL1-AgAAQBAJ&pg=PA143Chad Hansen. Philosophy of Language in Classical China. http://www.philosophy.hku.hk/ch/lang.htm publicly accessible standards, or models, opposing what Sinologist Chad Hansen terms the "cultivated intuition of self-admiration societies", expert at chanting old texts. For Guan Zhong, Fa could complement any traditional scheme, and he uses Fa alongside the Confucian Li (the unique principles or standards of things, being their determinant and differentiating them), which he still valued. What Fa made possible was the accurate following of instructions. With minimal training, anyone can use Fa to perform a task or check results. In principle, if their roots in Guan Zhong and Mozi are considered, the Legalists might all be said to use Fa in the same (administrative) fashion.Chad Hansen, Shen Buhai http://www.philosophy.hku.hk/ch/Shen%20Bu%20Hai.htm The
Mohists Mohism or Moism (, ) was an Chinese philosophy#Ancient philosophy, ancient Chinese philosophy of ethics and logic, rational thought, and science developed by the academic scholars who studied under the ancient Chinese philosopher Mozi (c. 470 BC ...
advocated a unified, utilitarian ethical and political order, posting some of its first theories and initiating a philosophical debate in China. To unify moral standards, they supported a "centralized, authoritarian state led by a virtuous, benevolent sovereign managed by a hierarchical, merit-based bureaucracy".Fraser, Chris, "Mohism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/entries/mohism/ That social order is paramount seems to be implicit, recognized by all.Bo Mou 2009 pp. 145,147. Routledge History of Chinese Philosophy Volume 3. https://books.google.com/books?id=UL1-AgAAQBAJ&pg=PA145 They argued against nepotism, and, as with the later Fa "philosophers", for universal standards (or
meritocracy Meritocracy (''merit'', from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latiu ...
) as represented by the centralized state, saying "If one has ability, then he is promoted. If he has no ability, then he is demoted. Promoting public justice and casting away private resentments – this is the meaning of such statements." Compared by Sinologist Chris Fraser with Plato, the
hermeneutics Hermeneutics () is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of Biblical hermeneutics, biblical texts, wisdom literature, and Philosophy, philosophical texts. Hermeneutics is more than interpretative principles ...
of the Mohists contained the philosophical germs of what Sima-Tan would term the "Fa-School" ("Legalists"), contributing to the political thought of contemporary reformers. The Mohists and the Guanzi text attributed to Guan Zhong are of particular importance to understanding Fa,Paul R. Goldin, Persistent Misconceptions about Chinese Legalism. p. 19 https://www.academia.edu/24999390/Persistent_Misconceptions_about_Chinese_Legalism_ meaning "to model on" or "to emulate". Dan Robins of the University of Hong Kong considers Fa to have become "important in early Chinese philosophy largely because of the Mohists". Of particular concern for the Fajia and the Mohists, the fourth century witnessed the emergence of discussions polarizing the concepts of self and private, commonly used in conjunction with profit and associated with fragmentation, division, partiality, and one-sidelines, with that of the state and "public", represented by the duke and referring to what is official or royal, that is, the ruler himself, associated with unity, wholeness, objectivity, and universality. The latter denotes the "Universal Way".Erica Brindley, The Polarization of the Concepts Si (Private Interest) and Gong (Public Interest) in Early Chinese Thought. pp. 6, 8, 12–13, 16, 19, 21–22, 24, 27 Legalism and Mohism are distinguished by this effort to obtain objectivity.Jacques Gernet 1982 p. 91. A History of Chinese Civilization. https://books.google.com/books?id=jqb7L-pKCV8C&pg=PA91


Mohist Hermeneutics

Mohist and "Legalist" thought is not based on entities, transcendentals or universals, but parts or roles ("names"),John Makeham 1994 p. 147. Name and Actuality in Early Chinese Thought. https://books.google.com/books?id=GId_ASbEI2YC&pg=PA147 and are therefore relatable to the Confucian
rectification of names The rectification of names () is originally a doctrine of feudal Confucian Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, ...
, which arguably originates in
Mozi Mozi (; ; Latinization (literature), Latinized as Micius ; – ), original name Mo Di (), was a Chinese philosophy, Chinese philosopher who founded the school of Mohism during the Hundred Schools of Thought period (the early portion of the ...
's development of Fa. For the most part
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a Religious Confucianism, religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, ...
does not elaborate on Fa (though Han Confucians embraced Fa as an essential element in administration), though the idea of norms themselves being older,Zhongying Cheng 1991 p. 315. New Dimensions of Confucian and Neo-Confucian Philosophy. https://books.google.com/books?id=zIFXyPMI51AC&pg=PA315 Fa is theoretically derived from the Confucian Li. Rejecting the Confucian idea of parents as a moral model as particular and unreliable, the driving idea of the Mohists was the use of
hermeneutics Hermeneutics () is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of Biblical hermeneutics, biblical texts, wisdom literature, and Philosophy, philosophical texts. Hermeneutics is more than interpretative principles ...
to find objective models/standards (Fa) for ethics and politics, as was done in any practical field, to order or govern society. These were primarily practical rather than principles or rules, as in the square and plumb-line.Chad Hansen, University of Hong Kong. Lord Shang. http://www.philosophy.hku.hk/ch/Lord%20Shang.htm The Mohists used Fa as "objective, particularly operational or measurement-like standards for fixing the referents of names", hoping that analysis of language standards (Fa) would yield some objective way (dao) of moral reform. For Mozi, if language is made objective, then language itself could serve as a source of information and argued that in any dispute of distinctions, one party must be right and one wrong. While other terms might denote mere command, in comparison to the Western concept of law, the essential characteristic of Fa is measurement. Mozi considered the elucidation of different "types" or "classes" to be the basis of both cognitive thinking and sociopolitical practice. Referring to an easily projectable standard of utility, the Guanzi Mohists explain "Fa" as compasses or circles,Fraser, Chris, "Mohism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 3. The Search for Objective Standards, 3. The Concept of Fa (Models) http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/entries/mohism/ and may be prototypes, exemplars, or (specific) analogies. Fa is never merely arbitrary or the ruler's desire, nor does it aim at an intellectual grasp of a definition or principle, but the practical ability to perform a task (dao) successfully, or to "do something correctly in practice" — and in particular, to be able to distinguish various kinds of things from one another. Measuring to determine whether distinctions have been drawn properly, Fa compares something against itself, and judges whether the two are similar, just as with the use of the compass or the L-square. What matches the standard is then the particular object, and thus correct. This constituted the basic conception of Mohist's practical reasoning and knowledge. Mozi said,


"Legalist" administration

Despite the framing of Han historians, the Fajia did not seem to think they were using Fa differently than anyone else, and the influence of the Mohists is likely strong. All of the Fajia would adopt its usage. Though Masayuki Sato translates Fa as law, he explains the concept as more like an objective measuring device. Sinologist Mark Edward Lewis writes: language, such as that of a legal code, is linked to social control. If words are not correct, they do not correspond to reality, and regulation fails. "Law" is "purified", rectified, or technically regulated language. For
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
, correct or perverse words will order or ruin the state. Han Fei may also have borrowed his views on human nature from the Mohists. Han Fei credits
Shang Yang Shang Yang (; c. 390 – 338 BC), also known as Wei Yang () and originally surnamed Gongsun, was a Chinese jurist, philosopher, and politician.Antonio S. Cua (ed.), 2003, p. 362, ''Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy'"The fifth important legali ...
with the practice of Fa in statecraft, to which Shang Yang and Han Fei intended their "legal codes" (Fa) be as "self-interpreting" (Hansen). Shang Yang's systematic application of penalties increase the tendency to see it as penal, but arguably does not change meaning from that of the Mohists. Shang Yang's innovation was not penal law. Rather, Shang Yang's idea was that penal codes should be reformed to have the same kind of objectivity, clarity and accessibility as the craft-linked instruments. Contrasting Fa with private distortions and behavior, theoretically, their Fa exactly follows Mozi. Shang Yang was supposedly taught by a Confucian syncretist, Shi Jiao, who, stressing the importance of "name" (
rectification of names The rectification of names () is originally a doctrine of feudal Confucian Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, ...
), connected it with reward and punishment. Applied to economy and institution, Shang Yang's Fa is total and anti-bureaucratic, calculating rank mathematically from the adherence to standards (Fa) in the performance of roles (models), namely that of soldiers and (to a lesser extent) farmers. Han Fei shows no revolutionary insight into rules; objectively-determined "models" (Fa) or "names" (titles/roles), being measured against, replace intuitive guidance, especially that of the ruler. It is these that enable control of a bureaucracy. Carine Defoort of New York University explains: Because Fa is necessary for articulating administrative terms, it is presupposed in any application of punishment, and Han Fei stressed measurement-like links between rewards and punishments and performance. Applied through incentives and disincentives, Fa provided guidance for behaviour, the performance of civil and military roles, and advancement. An excavated Qin text consists of twenty-five abstract model patterns guiding procedure based on actual situations.


Branches of the Fajia

Feng Youlan Feng Youlan (; 4 December 1895 – 26 November 1990) was a Chinese philosopher, historian, and writer who was instrumental for reintroducing the study of Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring an ...
and
Liang Qichao Liang Qichao (Chinese: 梁啓超 ; Wade–Giles, Wade-Giles: ''Liang2 Chʻi3-chʻao1''; Yale romanization of Cantonese, Yale: ''Lèuhng Kái-chīu'') (February 23, 1873 – January 19, 1929) was a Chinese politician, social and political act ...
describe the elements of the Fajia as Fa (often translated as law, but closer to "standards" or "method"), authority or power (Shi), and "technique" (Shu), that is, statecraft or "the art of conducting affairs and handling men".Kung-chuan Hsiao 1979. p. 76. History of Chinese Political Thought, Volume 1. https://books.google.com/books?id=Bn19BgAAQBAJ&pg=PA76 Less well defined compared to Confucianism and Mohism, it is unclear when the Fajia came to be regarded as an intellectual faction, only forming a complex of ideas around the time of
Li Si Li Si (Mandarin: ; BCSeptember or October 208 BC) was a Chinese philosopher, politician, and calligrapher of the Qin dynasty. He served as Chancellor (China), Chancellor (or Prime Minister) from 246 to 208 BC under two rulers: Qin Shi Huang, ...
(280–208 BC), elder advisor to the
First Emperor Qin Shi Huang (, ; 259–210 BC) was the founder of the Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty ( ; zh, c=秦朝, p=Qín cháo, w=), or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles romanization ( zh, c=, p=, w=Ch'in ch'ao), was the first dynasty of Imperi ...
. While the earliest Legalistic act can be traced to
Zichan Gongsun Qiao (), died 522 BC, was better known by his courtesy name Zichan () (Wade-Giles, WG: Tzu Ch'an). From 544 BC until his death, he served as the chief minister of the Zheng (state), State of Zheng. His ancestral surname was Ji (姬), and c ...
(and with him Deng Xi),Xing Lu 1998. Rhetoric in Ancient China, Fifth to Third Century, B.C.E.. p. 264. https://books.google.com/books?id=72QURrAppzkC&pg=PA264 Chinese scholar K. C. Hsiao and
Sinologist Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, Chinese language, language, Chinese literature, literature, Chinese culture, culture and History of China, history and ...
Herrlee G. Creel considered the Fajia to have stemmed from two disparate contemporary thinkers, as described by
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
:Herrlee G. Creel, 1974 p. 122. Shen Pu-Hai: A Secular Philosopher of Administration, Journal of Chinese Philosophy Volume 1. In contrast to the old feudalism and Shen Buhai, Shang or Gongsun Yang considered there to be no single model of rule in the past, and everything changeable as a product of changing conditions;Pines, Yuri, "Legalism in Chinese Philosophy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 2.1 Evolutionary view of History http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2014/entries/chinese-legalism/ holding decline to have resulted from a scarcity of resources, he prescribed statecraft. Questioning traditional rule and the relevance of the past to the present, the first chapter of the Book of Lord Shang cites Gongsun as saying: "Orderly generations did not ollowa single way; to benefit the state, one need not imitate antiquity." Distinguished by his heavy emphasis on penalty and mutual responsibility (among both minister and population), he instituted severe punishment for the Qin (later reduced). Gongsun ultimately did not believe that the method of rule really mattered as long as the state was rich, and tried to dispense with the selection of exceptional men through insurance mechanisms while attacking moral discussion as empowering ministers. His anti-bureaucracy may be seen as a precursor to that of
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
, and together with their predecessor Mozi may be characterized as following a philosophical tradition of "objective, public, accessible standards" (Fa). The Shang Yang school was favored, though not exclusively, by
Emperor Wu of Han Emperor Wu of Han (156 – 29 March 87BC), formally posthumous name, enshrined as Emperor Wu the filial piety, Filial (), born Liu Che (劉徹) and courtesy name Tong (通), was the seventh emperor of China, emperor of the Han dynasty of imperi ...
. In contrast to Shang Yang, though seeking at the motivation of his subjects, Han Fei is much more skeptical of self-interest. Shen Buhai and his branch sometimes even opposed punishments.
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
combined the branches. This combination is commonly known as the Fajia. Because, historically, the branches did not endorse each other's views, Creel often called the Shen Buhai group "administrators", "methodists" or "technocrats", a division nominally accepted by the ''Cambridge History of China''. Han Fei called both branches "the instruments of Kings and Emperors", and
Li Si Li Si (Mandarin: ; BCSeptember or October 208 BC) was a Chinese philosopher, politician, and calligrapher of the Qin dynasty. He served as Chancellor (China), Chancellor (or Prime Minister) from 246 to 208 BC under two rulers: Qin Shi Huang, ...
praised them equally, finding no contradiction between them. Sinologist Chad Hansen describes their difference as such: "Shen Buhai's shu ('techniques') limit the ministers' influence on the ruler; Shang Yang's fa controls their power over the people." The scholar Shen Dao (350 – c. 275 BC) covered a "remarkable" quantity of Legalist and Taoistic themes.Benjanmin I. Schwartz 1985. p. 247. The World of Thought in Ancient China. https://books.google.com/books?id=kA0c1hl3CXUC&pg=PA247 Incorporated into the Han Feizi and ''
The Art of War ''The Art of War'' () is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in History of China, Chinese history from approximately 770 to 476 BC (or according ...
'', he nonetheless lacked a recognizable group of followers.


Shang Yang (390–338 BC)

Hailing from Wei, as Prime Minister of the
State of Qin Qin () was an ancient Chinese state Ancient Chinese states () were typified by variously sized City-state, city-states and territories that existed in China prior to Qin's wars of unification, its unification by Qin Shi Huang in 221 BCE. In ...
Shang Yang Shang Yang (; c. 390 – 338 BC), also known as Wei Yang () and originally surnamed Gongsun, was a Chinese jurist, philosopher, and politician.Antonio S. Cua (ed.), 2003, p. 362, ''Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy'"The fifth important legali ...
or Gongsun Yang engaged in a "comprehensive plan to eliminate the hereditary aristocracy". Drawing boundaries between private factions and the central, royal state, he took up the cause of meritocratic appointment, stating "Favoring one's relatives is tantamount to using self-interest as one's way, whereas that which is equal and just prevents selfishness from proceeding." As the first of his accomplishments, historiographer
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty The Han dynasty (, ; ) was an imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 9 AD, 25–220 AD), established by Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao) and ruled by the H ...
accounts Gongsun as having divided the populace into groups of five and ten, instituting a system of mutual responsibility tying status entirely to service to the state. It rewarded office and rank for martial exploits, going to far as to organize women's militias for siege defense. The second accomplishment listed is forcing the populace to attend solely to agriculture (or women cloth production, including a possible sewing draft) and recruiting labour from other states. He abolished the old fixed landholding system (
Fengjian ''Fēngjiàn'' ( zh, c=封建, l=enfeoffment and establishment) was a political ideology and governance system in ancient China, whose social structure formed a decentralized system of confederation-like government based on the ruling class consis ...
) and direct primogeniture, making it possible for the people to buy and sell (
usufruct Usufruct () is a limited ius in re, real right (or ''in rem'' right) found in Civil law (legal system), civil-law and mixed jurisdictions that unites the two property interests of ''usus'' and ''fructus'': * ''Usus'' (''use'') is the right to use ...
) farmland, thereby encouraging the peasants of other states to come to Qin. The recommendation that farmers be allowed to buy office with grain was apparently only implemented much later, the first clear-cut instance in 243 BC. Infanticide was prohibited.Anne Behnke Kinney 2004 pp. 12,137. Representations of Childhood and Youth in Early China. https://books.google.com/books?id=j0Lz0uAT_ygC&pg=PA12 Gongsun deliberately produced equality of conditions amongst the ruled, a tight control of the economy, and encouraged total loyalty to the state, including censorship and reward for denunciation. Law was what the sovereign commanded, and this meant absolutism, but it was an absolutism of law as impartial and impersonal. Gongsun discouraged arbitrary tyranny or terror as destroying the law.K. K. Lee, 1975 pp. 27–30, 40–41. Legalist School and Legal Positivism, Journal of Chinese Philosophy Volume 2. Emphasizing knowledge of the Fa among the people, he proposed an elaborate system for its distribution to allow them to hold ministers to it. He considered it the most important device for upholding the power of the state. Insisting that it be made known and applied equally to all, he posted it on pillars erected in the new capital. In 350, along with the creation of the new capital, a portion of Qin was divided into thirty-one counties, each "administered by a (presumably centrally appointed) magistrate". This was a "significant move toward centralizing Ch'in administrative power" and correspondingly reduced the power of hereditary landholders.Duyvendak, The Boot of Lord Shang, pp. 18–19 Gongsun considered the sovereign to be a culmination in historical evolution, representing the interests of state, subject and stability.Pines, Yuri, "Legalism in Chinese Philosophy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 5.1 The Ruler's Superiority. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2014/entries/chinese-legalism/ Objectivity was a primary goal for him, wanting to be rid as much as possible of the subjective element in public affairs. The greatest good was order. History meant that feeling was now replaced by rational thought, and private considerations by public, accompanied by properties, prohibitions and restraints. In order to have prohibitions, it is necessary to have executioners, hence officials, and a supreme ruler. Virtuous men are replaced by qualified officials, objectively measured by Fa. The ruler should rely neither on his nor his officials' deliberations, but on the clarification of Fa. Everything should be done by Fa, whose transparent system of standards will prevent any opportunities for corruption or abuse. Shang Yang also corrected measures and weights.Zhiyu Shi 1993 p. 51. China's Just World: The Morality of Chinese Foreign Policy. https://books.google.com/books?id=JNdT5hLPWuIC&pg=PA51


Anti-Confucianism

While
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
and Shen Dao's current may not have been hostile to Confucius,
Shang Yang Shang Yang (; c. 390 – 338 BC), also known as Wei Yang () and originally surnamed Gongsun, was a Chinese jurist, philosopher, and politician.Antonio S. Cua (ed.), 2003, p. 362, ''Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy'"The fifth important legali ...
and
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
emphasize their rejection of past models as unverifiable if not useless ("what was appropriate for the early kings is not appropriate for modern rulers").Eric L. Hutton 2008. p. 437 Han Feizi's Criticism of Confucianism and its Implications for Virtue Ethics. http://hutton.philosophy.utah.edu/HFZ.pdf In the west, past scholars have argued that Shang Yang sought to establish the supremacy of what some have termed
positive law Positive laws ( la, links=no, ius positum) are human-made laws that oblige or specify an action. Positive law also describes the establishment of specific rights for an individual or group. Etymologically, the name derives from the verb ''to posit ...
at the expense of customary or "natural" law. Han Fei argued that the age of Li had given way to the age of Fa, with natural order giving way to social order and finally political order. Together with that of
Xun Kuang Xun Kuang (; BCE), better known as Xunzi (; ), was a Chinese Philosophy, philosopher of Confucianism who lived during the late Warring States period. After his predecessors Confucius and Mencius, Xunzi is often ranked as the third great Confuc ...
, their sense of human progress and reason guided the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty ( ; zh, c=秦朝, p=Qín cháo, w=), or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles romanization ( zh, c=, p=, w=Ch'in ch'ao), was the first dynasty of Imperial China. Named for its heartland in Qin state (modern Gansu Gansu (, ; ...
. Intending his Dao (way of government) to be both objective and publicly projectable, Han Fei argued that disastrous results would occur if the ruler acted on arbitrary, ad-hoc decision making, such as that based on relationships or morality which, as a product of reason, are "particular and fallible". Li, or Confucian customs, and rule by example are also simply too ineffective.Jinfan Zhang 2014 p. 90. The Tradition and Modern Transition of Chinese Law. https://books.google.com/books?id=AOu5BAAAQBAJ&pg=PA90 The ruler cannot act on a case-by-case basis, and so must establish an overarching system, acting through Fa (administrative methods or standards). Fa is not partial to the noble, does not exclude ministers, and does not discriminate against the common people. Linking the "public" sphere with justice and objective standards, for Han Fei, the private and public had always opposed each other. Taking after Shang Yang he lists the Confucians among his "five vermin", and calls the Confucian teaching on love and compassion for the people the "stupid teaching" and "muddle-headed chatter", the emphasis on benevolence an "aristocratic and elitist ideal" demanding that "all ordinary people of the time be like Confucius' disciples". Moreover, he dismisses it as impracticable, saying that "In their settled knowledge, the literati are removed from the affairs of the state ... What can the ruler gain from their settled knowledge?", and points out that "Confucianism" is not a unified body of thought.


Assessments

Keeping in mind the information of the time (1955) and the era of which he is speaking, A. F. P. Hulsewé goes as far as to call
Shang Yang Shang Yang (; c. 390 – 338 BC), also known as Wei Yang () and originally surnamed Gongsun, was a Chinese jurist, philosopher, and politician.Antonio S. Cua (ed.), 2003, p. 362, ''Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy'"The fifth important legali ...
the "founder of the school of law", and considers his unification of punishments one of his most important contributions; that is, giving the penalty of death to any grade of person disobeying the king's orders. Shang Yang even expected the king, though the source of law (authorizing it), to follow it. This treatment is in contrast to ideas more typical of archaic society, more closely represented in the
Rites of Zhou The ''Rites of Zhou'' (), originally known as "Officers of Zhou" () is a work on bureaucracy and organizational theory. It was renamed by Liu Xin (scholar), Liu Xin to differentiate it from a chapter in the ''Book of History'' by the same name. ...
as giving different punishments to different strata of society. Hulsewe points out that Sima Tan considered equal treatment the "school of law's" most salient point: "They do not distinguish between close and far relatives, nor do they disriminate between noble and humble, but in an uniform manner they decide on them in law."Anthony François Paulus Hulsewé 1955. Remnants of Han Law, Volume 1. https://books.google.com/books?id=Dx8VAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA271 Though himself deriving them from elsewhere, the Han dynasty adopted essentially the same denominations of crimes, if not equality, as Shang Yang set down for Qin, without collective punishment of the three sets of relatives. Shang Yang appeared to act according to his own teachings, and translator Duvendak references him as being considered "like a bamboo‑frame which keeps a bow straight, and one could not get him out of his straightness", even if spoken of by some pre-modern Chinese in ill regard with the fall of Qin. Though writing in 1928, Duvendak believed that Shang Yang should be of interest not just to
Sinologists Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by populati ...
, but Western Jurists as well.


Shen Buhai (400 – c. 337 BC)

The basic structure and operation of the traditional Chinese state was not "legalistic" as the term is commonly understood. Though persisting, pre-modern mainstream Chinese thinking never really accepted the role of law and jurisprudence or the Shang Yang wing of the Fajia. The Fajia's most important contribution lies in the organization and regulation of centralized, bureaucratic government.
Sinologist Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, Chinese language, language, Chinese literature, literature, Chinese culture, culture and History of China, history and ...
Herrlee G. Creel called its philosophy administrative for lack of a better term, considering it to have been founded by
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
(400–337 BC), who likely played an "outstanding role in the creation of the traditional Chinese system of government". Shen was chancellor of Han for fifteen years (354–337 BC).Zhengyuan Fu 1995. p. 120. China's Legalists: The Early Totalitarians: The Early Totalitarians. https://books.google.com/books?id=7YQYDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT20 The
Huainanzi The ''Huainanzi'' is an ancient Chinese text that consists of a collection of essays that resulted from a series of scholarly debates held at the court of Liu An, Prince of Huainan, sometime before 139. The ''Huainanzi'' blends Daoist, Confuci ...
says that when Shen lived the officials of the state of Han were at cross-purposes and did not know what practices to follow;Creel, 1959 p. 206. The Meaning of Hsing-Ming. Studia Serica: Sinological studies dedicated to Bernhard Kalgren the legal system of Han was apparently confused, prohibiting uniform reward and punishment. It is not surprising then that no text identifies Shen Buhai with penal law. We have no basis to suppose that Shen advocated the doctrine of rewards and punishment (of
Shang Yang Shang Yang (; c. 390 – 338 BC), also known as Wei Yang () and originally surnamed Gongsun, was a Chinese jurist, philosopher, and politician.Antonio S. Cua (ed.), 2003, p. 362, ''Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy'"The fifth important legali ...
, as Han Fei did), and Han Fei criticizes him for not unifying the laws. A teacher of Legalist Li Kui, the Confucian Bu Shang is cited for the principle of favouring talents over favouritism, becoming under the Mohists the principle of "elevating the worthy and employing ability". Adhering thereto, Shen utilized the same category of method (Fa) as others of the Fajia, but emphasized its use in secrecy for purposes of investigation and personnel control, concerning himself with methods (Fa) of (impersonal bureaucratic) administration (namely methods of appointment and performance measurement) or the ruler's role in the control thereof. He is famous for the dictum "The Sage ruler relies on standards/method (Fa) and does not rely on wisdom; he relies on technique, not on persuasions." What Shen appears to have realized is that the "methods for the control of a bureaucracy" could not be mixed with the survivals of feudal government, or staffed merely by "getting together a group of 'good men, but rather must be men qualified in their jobs. He therefore emphasizes the importance of selecting able officials as much as Confucius did, but insists on "constant vigilance over their performance", never mentioning virtue. Well aware of the possibility of the loss of the ruler's position, and thus state or life, from said officials, Shen says: Compared with Shang Yang, Shen Buhai refers to the ruler in abstract terms: he is simply the head of a bureaucracy. In comparison with
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
though his system still required a strong ruler at the centre, emphasizing that he trust no one minister. Ideally, Shen Buhai's ruler had the widest possible sovereignty, was intelligent (if not a sage), had to make all crucial decisions himself, and had unlimited control of the bureaucracy. Shen largely recommended that rulers investigate their ministers' performance, checking his ministers' reports while remaining calm and secretive (
Wu wei ''Wu wei'' () is an ancient Chinese concept literally meaning "inexertion", "inaction", or "effortless action". ''Wu wei'' emerged in the Spring and Autumn period, and from Confucianism, to become an important concept in Chinese statecraft and Ta ...
). The ruler promotes and demotes according to the match between 'performance' and proposal (Xing Ming).Pines, Yuri, "Legalism in Chinese Philosophy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 5.2 Entrapped Sovereign? http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2014/entries/chinese-legalism/ Shen Buhai insisted that the ruler must be fully informed on the state of his realm, but could not afford to get caught up in details and in an ideal situation need listen to no one. Listening to his courtiers might interfere with promotions, and he does not, as
Sinologist Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, Chinese language, language, Chinese literature, literature, Chinese culture, culture and History of China, history and ...
Herrlee G. Creel says, have the time to do so. The way to see and hear independently is the grouping together of particulars into categories using mechanical or operational method (Fa). On the contrary the ruler's eyes and hears will make him "deaf and blind" (unable to obtain accurate information). Seeing and hearing independently, the ruler is able to make decisions independently, and is, Shen says, able to rule the world thereby.


Shu or "Technique"

Apart from Shang Yang's doctrine of penalties and mutual spying and denouncement among ministers,
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
recommends the ruler should protect himself through careful employment of doctrines that had earlier been recommended by
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
. Because Fa has diverse meaning, for clarification Shen Buhai's successors often used the term ''Shu'' (technique) for his administrative method (Fa) and other techniques (such as "Wu-wei"), and thus 20th century philosopher
Feng Youlan Feng Youlan (; 4 December 1895 – 26 November 1990) was a Chinese philosopher, historian, and writer who was instrumental for reintroducing the study of Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring an ...
called Shen the leader of the group n the Legalist schoolemphasizing Shu, or techniques of government.Makeham, J. (1990) p. 88. The Legalist Concept of Hsing-Ming: An Example of the Contribution of Archaeological Evidence to the Re-Interpretation of Transmitted Texts. Monumenta Serica, 39, 87–114. Liu Xiang wrote that Shen Buhai advised the ruler of men use technique (shu) rather than punishment, relying on persuasion to supervise and hold responsible, though very strictly.Makeham, J. (1990) pp. 92, 98. The Legalist Concept of Hsing-Ming: An Example of the Contribution of Archaeological Evidence to the Re-Interpretation of Transmitted Texts. Monumenta Serica, 39, 87–114. Shen's doctrines are described as concerned almost exclusively with the "ruler's role and the methods by which he may control a bureaucracy"; that is, its management and personnel control: the selection of capable ministers, their performance, the monopolization of power, and the control of and power relations between ruler and minister which he characterized as
Wu Wei ''Wu wei'' () is an ancient Chinese concept literally meaning "inexertion", "inaction", or "effortless action". ''Wu wei'' emerged in the Spring and Autumn period, and from Confucianism, to become an important concept in Chinese statecraft and Ta ...
. The emphasis, however, is on "scrutinizing achievement and on that ground alone to give rewards, and to bestow office solely on the basis of ability".
Sinologist Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, Chinese language, language, Chinese literature, literature, Chinese culture, culture and History of China, history and ...
John Makeham characterizes Shu as "the agency of several checking systems that together constituted Method (Fa)", whose central principle is accountability.
Sinologist Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, Chinese language, language, Chinese literature, literature, Chinese culture, culture and History of China, history and ...
Herrlee G. Creel believed the term originally had the sense of numbers, with implicit roots in statistical or categorizing methods, using record-keeping in financial management as a numerical measure of accomplishment.Mark Czikszentmihalyi p. 50. Chia I's "Techniques of the Tao" and the Han Confucian Appropriation of Technical Discourse. Asia Major, Third Series, Vol. 10, No. 1/2 (1997), pp. 49–67 He notes that command of finance was generally held by the head of government from the beginning of the Zhou dynasty; an example of auditing dates to 800 BC, and the practice of annual accounting solidified by the
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded ...
and budgeting by the first century BC. In the Guanzi the artisan's Shu is explicitly compared to that of the good ruler. The History of the Han ( Han Shu) lists texts for Shu as devoted to "calculation techniques" and "techniques of the mind", and describes the Warring States period as a time when the shu arose because the complete tao had disappeared.Mark Cxikdzentmihalyi pp. 49–51. Chia I's "Techniques of the Tao" and the Han Confucian Appropriation of Technical Discourse. Asia Major, Third Series, Vol. 10, No. 1/2 (1997), pp. 49–67 Hsu Kai (920–974 AD) calls Shu a branch in, or components of, the great Tao, likening it to the spokes on a wheel. He defines it as "that by which one regulates the world of things; the algorithms of movement and stillness". Mastery of techniques was a necessary element of sagehood. Another example of Shu is Chuan-shu, or "political maneuvering". The concept of Ch'uan, or "weighing" figures in Legalist writings from very early times. It also figures in Confucian writings as at the heart of moral action, including in the Mencius and the Doctrine of the Mean. Weighing is contrasted with "the standard". Life and history often necessitate adjustments in human behavior, which must suit what is called for at a particular time. It always involves human judgement. A judge that has to rely on his subjective wisdom, in the form of judicious weighing, relies on Ch'uan. The Confucian
Zhu Xi Zhu Xi (; ; October 18, 1130 – April 23, 1200), formerly romanized Chu Hsi, was a Chinese calligrapher, historian, philosopher, poet, and politician during the Song dynasty. Zhu was influential in the development of Neo-Confucianism. He con ...
, who was notably not a restorationist, emphasized expedients as making up for incomplete standards or methods.


Name and reality (Ming-shi)

A contemporary of Confucius, the logician Deng Xi (died 501 BC) was cited by Liu Xiang for the origin of the principle of Xing-Ming. Serving as a minor official in the state of Zheng, he is reported to have drawn up a code of penal laws. Associated with litigation, he is said to have argued for the permissibility of contradictory propositions, likely engaging in hair-splitting debates on the interpretation of laws, legal principles and definitions. Shen Buhai solves this through Wu wei, or not getting involved, making an official's words his own responsibility. Shen Buhai says, "The ruler controls the policy, the ministers manage affairs. To speak ten times and ten times be right, to act a hundred times and a hundred times succeed – this is the business of one who serves another as minister; it is the not the way to rule." The correlation between Wu-wei and ming-shi () likely informed the Taoist conception of the formless Tao that "gives rise to the ten thousand things". In the Han Dynasty secretaries of government who had charge of the records of decisions in criminal matters were called Xing-Ming, which
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty The Han dynasty (, ; ) was an imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 9 AD, 25–220 AD), established by Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao) and ruled by the H ...
(145 or 135 – 86 BC) and Liu Xiang (77–6 BC) attributed to the doctrine of Shen Buhai (400 – c. 337 BC). Liu Xiang goes as far as to define Shen Buhai's doctrine as Xing-Ming. Shen actually used an older, more philosophically common equivalent, ming-shi, linking the "Legalist doctrine of names" with the name and reality (ming shi) debates of the school of names – another school evolving out of the
Mohists Mohism or Moism (, ) was an Chinese philosophy#Ancient philosophy, ancient Chinese philosophy of ethics and logic, rational thought, and science developed by the academic scholars who studied under the ancient Chinese philosopher Mozi (c. 470 BC ...
. Such discussions are also prominent in the Han Feizi, and the earliest literary occurrence for Xing-Ming, in the
Zhan Guo Ce The ''Zhan Guo Ce'', ( W-G: Chan-kuo T'se) also known in English as the ''Strategies of the Warring States'' or ''Annals of the Warring States'', is an ancient Chinese text that contains anecdotes of political manipulation and warfare during th ...
, is also in reference to the school of names.John Makeham 1994 p. 67. Name and Actuality in Early Chinese Thought. https://books.google.com/books?id=GId_ASbEI2YC&pg=PA67 Ming ("name") sometimes has the sense of speech – so as to compare the statements of an aspiring officer with the reality of his actions – or reputation, again compared with real conduct (xing "form" or shi "reality").Mark Edward Lewis, 1999 p. 33, Writing and Authority in Early China Two anecdotes by Han Fei provide examples: The Logician Ni Yue argued that a white horse is not a horse, and defeated all debaters, but was still tolled at the gate. In another, the chief minister of Yan pretended to see a white horse dash out the gate. All of his subordinates denied having seen anything, save one, who ran out after it and returned claiming to have seen it, and was thereby identified as a flatterer. Shen Buhai's personnel control, or
rectification of names The rectification of names () is originally a doctrine of feudal Confucian Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, ...
(such as titles) worked thereby for "strict performance control" (Hansen) correlating claims, performances and posts. It would become a central tenant of both Legalist statecraft and its Huang-Lao derivatives. Rather than having to look for "good" men, ming-shi or xing-ming can seek the right man for a particular post, though doing so implies a total organizational knowledge of the regime. More simply though, it can allow ministers to "name" themselves through accounts of specific cost and time frame, leaving their definition to competing ministers. Claims or utterances "bind the speaker to the realization a job (Makeham)." This was the doctrine, with subtle differences, favoured by Han Fei. Favoring exactness, it combats the tendency to promise too much. The correct articulation of Ming is considered crucial to the realization of projects. In ''Chinese Thought: An Introduction'', S. Y. Hsieh suggests a set of assumptions underlying the concept of (xing-ming). * That when a large group of people are living together, it is necessary to have some form of government. * The government has to be responsible for a wide range of things, to allow them to live together peacefully. * The government does not consist of one person only, but a group. * One is a leader that issues orders to other members, namely officials, and assigns responsibilities to them. * To do this, the leader must know the exact nature of the responsibilities, as well as the capabilities of the officials. * Responsibilities, symbolized by a title, should correspond closely with capabilities, demonstrated by performance. * Correspondence measures success in solving problems and also controls the officials. When there is a match, the leader should award the officials. * It is necessary to recruit from the whole population. Bureaucratic government marks the end of feudal government.


Wu wei (inaction)

Playing a "crucial role in the promotion of the autocratic tradition of the Chinese polity", what is termed
Wu wei ''Wu wei'' () is an ancient Chinese concept literally meaning "inexertion", "inaction", or "effortless action". ''Wu wei'' emerged in the Spring and Autumn period, and from Confucianism, to become an important concept in Chinese statecraft and Ta ...
(or inaction) would become the political theory of the Fajia (or "Chinese Legalists"), if not becoming their general term for political strategy. The (qualified) non-action of the ruler ensures his power and the stability of the polity,Xuezhi Go, 2002. p. 198 The Ideal Chinese Political Leader. https://books.google.com/books?id=6vG-MROnr7IC&pg=PA198 and can therefore be considered his foremost technique. The "conception of the ruler's role as a supreme arbiter, who keeps the essential power firmly in his grasp" while leaving details to ministers, would have a "deep influence on the theory and practice of Chinese monarchy". Following
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
strongly advocated by
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
, during the Han dynasty up until the reign of Han Wudi rulers confined their activity "chiefly to the appointment and dismissal of his high officials", a plainly "Legalist" practice inherited from the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty ( ; zh, c=秦朝, p=Qín cháo, w=), or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles romanization ( zh, c=, p=, w=Ch'in ch'ao), was the first dynasty of Imperial China. Named for its heartland in Qin state (modern Gansu Gansu (, ; ...
. Lacking any metaphysical connotation, Shen used the term Wu wei to mean that the ruler, though vigilant, should not interfere with the duties of his ministers, acting through administrative method. Shen says: Though not a conclusive argument against proto-Taoist influence, Shen's Buhai's Taoist terms do not show evidence of explicit Taoist usage (Confucianism also uses terms like "Tao", or Wu wei), lacking any metaphysical connotation. The ''Han Feizi'' has a commentary on the Tao Te Ching, but references Shen Buhai rather than Laozi for Wu wei. Since the bulk of both the Tao Te Ching and the Zhuangzhi appear to have been composed later,
Sinologist Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, Chinese language, language, Chinese literature, literature, Chinese culture, culture and History of China, history and ...
Herrlee G. Creel argued that it may therefore be assumed that Shen Buhai influenced them. Shen Buhai argued that if the government were organized and supervised relying on proper method (Fa), the ruler need do little – and must do little. Unlike Legalists
Shang Yang Shang Yang (; c. 390 – 338 BC), also known as Wei Yang () and originally surnamed Gongsun, was a Chinese jurist, philosopher, and politician.Antonio S. Cua (ed.), 2003, p. 362, ''Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy'"The fifth important legali ...
and
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
, Shen did not consider the relationship between ruler and minister antagonistic necessarily. Apparently paraphrasing the
Analects The ''Analects'' (; ; Old Chinese: '' ŋ(r)aʔ''; meaning "Selected Sayings"), also known as the ''Analects of Confucius'', the ''Sayings of Confucius'', or the ''Lun Yu'', is an ancient Chinese book composed of a large collection of say ...
, Shen Buhai's statement that those near him will feel affection, while the far will yearn for him, stands in contrast to Han Fei, who considered the relationship between the ruler and ministers irreconcilable.Pines, Yuri, "Legalism in Chinese Philosophy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2014/entries/chinese-legalism/ However, Shen still believed that the ruler's most able ministers are his greatest danger, and is convinced that it is impossible to make them loyal without techniques. Creel explains: "The ruler's subjects are so numerous, and so on alert to discover his weaknesses and get the better of him, that it is hopeless for him alone as one man to try to learn their characteristics and control them by his knowledge ... the ruler must refrain from taking the initiative, and from making himself conspicuous – and therefore vulnerable – by taking any overt action." Shen Buhai portrays the ruler as putting up a front to hide his dependence on his advisers. Aside from hiding the ruler's weaknesses, Shen's ruler, therefore, makes use of method (Fa) in secrecy. Even more than with Han Fei, Shen Buhai's ruler's strategies are a closely guarded secret, aiming for a complete independence that challenges "one of the oldest and most sacred tenets of onfucianism, that of respectfully receiving and following ministerial advice. Though espousing an ultimate inactive end, the term does not appear in the '' Book of Lord Shang'', ignoring it as an idea for control of the administration.


Yin (passive mindfulness)

Shen's ruler plays no active role in governmental functions. He should not use his talent even if he has it. Not using his own skills, he is better able to secure the services of capable functionaries. However,
Sinologist Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, Chinese language, language, Chinese literature, literature, Chinese culture, culture and History of China, history and ...
Herrlee G. Creel also argues that not getting involved in details allowed Shen's ruler to "truly rule", because it leaves him free to supervise the government without interfering, maintaining his perspective. Adherence to the use of technique in governing requires the ruler not engage in any interference or subjective consideration.Makeham, J. (1990) pp. 90-91. The Legalist Concept of Hsing-Ming: An Example of the Contribution of Archaeological Evidence to the Re-Interpretation of Transmitted Texts. Monumenta Serica, 39, 87–114.
Sinologist Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, Chinese language, language, Chinese literature, literature, Chinese culture, culture and History of China, history and ...
John Makeham explains: "assessing words and deeds requires the ruler's dispassionate attention; (yin is) the skill or technique of making one's mind a tabula rasa, non-committaly taking note of all the details of a man's claims and then objectively comparing his achievements of the original claims." A commentary to the Shiji cites a now-lost book as quoting Shen Buhai saying: "By employing (yin), 'passive mindfulness', in overseeing and keeping account of his vassals, accountability is deeply engraved." The Guanzi similarly says: "Yin is the way of non-action. Yin is neither to add to nor to detract from anything. To give something a name strictly on the basis of its form – this is the Method of yin." Yin also aimed at concealing the ruler's intentions, likes and opinions. Shen advises the ruler to keep his own counsel, hide his motivations and conceal his tracks in inaction, availing himself of an appearance of stupidity and insufficiency. Said obscuration was to be achieved together with the use of Method (Fa). Not acting himself, he can avoid being manipulated. Despite such injunctions, it is clear that the ruler's assignments would still be completely up to him.Makeham, J. (1990) p. 114. The Legalist Concept of Hsing-Ming: An Example of the Contribution of Archaeological Evidence to the Re-Interpretation of Transmitted Texts. Monumenta Serica, 39, 87–114.


Shen Dao (350 – c. 275 BC)

Shen Dao argued for Wu wei in a similar manner to Shen Buhai, saying Shen Dao also espouses an impersonal administration in much the same sense as Shen Buhai, and in contrast with Shang Yang emphasizes the use of talent and the promotion of ministers, saying that order and chaos are "not the product of one man's efforts". Along this line, however, he challenges the Confucian and Mohist esteem and appointment of worthies as a basis of order, pointing out that talented ministers existed in every age. Taking it upon himself to attempt a new, analytical solution, Shen advocated fairness as a new virtue, eschewing appointment by interview in favour of a mechanical distribution ("the basis of fairness") with the invariable Fa apportioning every person according to their achievement. Scholar Sugamoto Hirotsugu attributes the concept of Fen, or social resources, also used by the Guanzi and Xunzi, to Shen, given a "dimensional" difference through Fa, social relationships ("yin") and division. The greatest function of Fa ("the principle of objective judgement") is the prevention of selfish deeds and argument. However, doubting its long-term viability Shen did not exclude moral values and accepted (qualified) Confucian Li's supplementation of Fa and social relationships, though he frames Li in terms of (impersonal) rules. For this reason he is said to "laugh at men of worth" and "reject sages", his order relying not on them but on the Fa. Linking Fa to the notion of impartial objectivity associated with universal interest, and reframing the language of the old ritual order to fit a universal, imperial and highly bureaucratized state, Shen cautions the ruler against relying on his own personal judgment,Shen Dao's Own Voice, 2011. p. 202. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011 contrasting personal opinions with the merit of the objective standard, or fa, as preventing personal judgements or opinions from being exercised. Personal opinions destroy Fa, and Shen Dao's ruler therefore "does not show favouritism toward a single person".


Doctrine of position (shi)

Generally speaking, the "Fajia" understood that the power of the state resides in social and political institutions, and are innovative in their aim to subject the state to them.Jacques Gernet 1982 p. 90. A History of Chinese Civilization. https://books.google.com/books?id=jqb7L-pKCV8C&pg=PA90 Like Shen Buhai, Shen Dao largely focused on statecraft (Fa), and Confucian
Xun Kuang Xun Kuang (; BCE), better known as Xunzi (; ), was a Chinese Philosophy, philosopher of Confucianism who lived during the late Warring States period. After his predecessors Confucius and Mencius, Xunzi is often ranked as the third great Confuc ...
discusses him in this capacity, never referencing Shen Dao in relation to power. Shen Dao is remembered for his theories on shi (lit. "situational advantage", but also "power" or "charisma") because Han Fei references him in this capacity.Shen Dao's Own Voice, 2011. pp. 203–205. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011 In the words of Han Fei, Used in many areas of Chinese thought, shi probably originated in the military field.John Emerson 2012. p. 11. A Study of Shen Dao. Diplomats relied on concepts of situational advantage and opportunity, as well as secrecy (shu) long before the ascendancy of such concepts as sovereignty or law, and were used by kings wishing to free themselves from the aristocrats.Jacques Gernet 1982 p. 92. A History of Chinese Civilization. https://books.google.com/books?id=jqb7L-pKCV8C&pg=PA92
Sun Tzu Sun Tzu ( ; zh, t=孫子, s=孙子, first= t, p=Sūnzǐ) was a Chinese military general, strategist, philosopher, and writer who lived during the Eastern Zhou period of 771 to 256 BCE. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of '' Th ...
would go on to incorporate Taoist philosophy of inaction and impartiality, and Legalist punishment and rewards as systematic measures of organization, recalling Han Fei's concepts of power (shi) and tactics (shu).
Henry Kissinger Henry Alfred Kissinger (; ; born Heinz Alfred Kissinger, May 27, 1923) is a German-born American politician, diplomat, and Geopolitics, geopolitical consultant who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor (Unit ...
's ''On China'' says: "Chinese statesmanship exhibits a tendency to view the entire strategic landscape as part of a single whole ... Strategy and statecraft become means of 'combative coexistence' with opponents. The goal is to manoeuvre them into weakness while building up one's own shi, or strategic position." Kissinger considers the "manoeuvring" approach an ideal, but one that ran in contrast to the conflicts of the Qin dynasty.


Shen Dao on shi

Searching out the causes of disorder, Shen Dao observed splits in the ruler's authority. Shen Dao's theory on power echoes
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
, referenced by
Xun Kuang Xun Kuang (; BCE), better known as Xunzi (; ), was a Chinese Philosophy, philosopher of Confucianism who lived during the late Warring States period. After his predecessors Confucius and Mencius, Xunzi is often ranked as the third great Confuc ...
as its originator, who says "He who (can become) singular decision-maker can become the sovereign of All under Heaven." Shen Dao's theory may otherwise have been borrowed from the '' Book of Lord Shang''.Shen Dao's Own Voice, 2011. p. 205. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011 For Shen Dao, "Power" ( shi) refers to the ability to compel compliance; it requires no support from the subjects, though it does not preclude this. (shi's) merit is that it prevents people from fighting each other; political authority is justified and essential on this basis. Shen Dao says: "When All under Heaven lacks the single esteemed erson then there is no way to carry out the principles f orderly government, li  ... Hence the Son of Heaven is established for the sake of All under Heaven ... All under Heaven is not established for the sake of the Son of Heaven ..." Talent cannot be displayed without power.Chen, Chao Chuan and Yueh-Ting Lee 2008 p. 113. Leadership and Management in China Shen Dao says: "The flying dragon rides on the clouds and the rising serpent wanders in the mists. But when the clouds disperse and the mists clear up, the dragon and the serpent become the same as the earthworm and the large winged black ant because they have lost what they ride." Leadership is not a function of ability or merit, but is given by some process, such as giving a leader to a group. "The ruler of a state is enthroned for the sake of the state; the state is not established for the sake of the prince. Officials are installed for the sake of their offices; offices are not established for the sake of officials ..." While moral capability is usually disregarded by the Fajia, Shen Dao considers it useful in terms of authority. If the ruler is inferior but his command is practiced, it is because he is able to get support from people. But his ideas otherwise constitute a "direct challenge" to Confucian virtue. Virtue is unreliable because people have different capacities. Both morality together with intellectual capability are insufficient to rule, while position of authority is enough to attain influence and subdue the worthy, making virtue "not worth going after".


Han Fei on Shi

Like Shen Dao, Han Fei seems to admit that virtue or charisma can have persuasive power even in his own time. However, he considers virtue instrumental, and Wu-wei, or nonaction, as its essence. Furthermore, he criticizes virtue as insufficient; power should be amassed through "laws" (fa), and unlike Shen considers government by moral persuasion and government by power (shi) mutually incompatible. The ruler's authority (shi) should depend neither on his own personal qualities or cultivation, or even upon Shen Dao's position or power, but on Fa (law or checks and balances), a more vital source for his authority. Shang Yang and Han Fei's rejection of charisma (shi) as ineffective underwrite their rejection of the Confucian ruler. Han Fei does stress that the leader has to occupy a position of substantial power before he is able to use these or command followers. Competence or moral standing do not allow command. For Han Fei, in order to actually influence, manipulate or control others in an organization and attain organizational goals it is necessary to utilize tactics (shu), regulation (fa), and rewards and punishment – the "two handles".Yuri Pines 2003 p. 76 Submerged by Absolute Power Reward and punishment determine social positions – the right to appoint and dismiss. In line with Shi, these should never be relegated. The ruler must be the sole dispenser of honors and penalties. If these are delegated to the smallest degree, and people are appointed on the basis of reputation or worldly knowledge, then rivals will emerge and the ruler's power will fall to opinion and cliques (the ministers). Allowing him to prevent collapse by combating or resolving ministerial disagreements and ambitions, the rule's exclusive authority outweighs all other considerations, and Han Fei requires that the ruler punish disobedient ministers even if the results of their actions were successful. Goods may not be considered meaningful outside of his control.


Han Fei (280–233 BC)

Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
's theory is more interested in self-preservation than formulating any general theory of the state.
Sinologist Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, Chinese language, language, Chinese literature, literature, Chinese culture, culture and History of China, history and ...
Daniel Bell considers Han Fei's work a "political handbook for power-hungry rulers... (arguing that) political leaders should act like rational sociopaths" with "total-state control" strengthened by rewards and punishments. Han Fei nonetheless inheres to the tradition of Fa, considering coherent discourse essential for the functioning of the state. Han Fei's analysis of the problem of rulership is that "people naturally incline to private interpretation" (Chad Hansen). Differentiating his theory from that of the
Confucians Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. ...
through the objectivity and accessibility of Fa, he considers measurement (Fa) the only justification for adopting an explicit code, rather than leaving matters to tradition. As with
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
and most of the School of Names he takes the congruence between name and reality as a primary goal. Public, measurement-like standards for applying names (administrative standards or job contracts) can "plausibly make it hard for clever ministers to lie, (or) for glib talkers to take people (or the ruler) in with sophistries ... hey make it possible tocorrect the faults of superiors, expose error, check excess, and unify standards ... Laws, by themselves, cannot prevent the ruler from being fooled or deceived. The ruler needs Fa." Han Fei's arguments for "rule by law" (Fa) would not have as much persuasive power as they do if not for Fa, without which its objectives cannot be achieved. He rejects Confucian Li, scholarly interpretation and opinion, worldly knowledge, and reputation: models must be measured, dissolving behaviour and disputes of distinction into practical application. Considering politics the only means of preserving the power of the state,Jacques Gernet 1982 p. 91. A History of Chinese Civilization. https://books.google.com/books?id=jqb7L-pKCV8C&pg=PA90 he emphasizes standards (Fa), preventing disputes in language or knowledge, as the ruler's only protection. Providing reward and penalty automatically, Fa strictly defines state functions through binding, general rules, removing from discussion what would otherwise only be opinion, and preventing conflicts of competencies, undue powers or profits. To this end, Han Fei's high officials focus solely on definition through calculation and the construction of objective models, judged solely by effectiveness.


Wu wei

Devoting the entirety of Chapter 14, "How to Love the Ministers", to "persuading the ruler to be ruthless to his ministers",
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
's enlightened ruler strikes terror into his ministers by doing nothing (
wu wei ''Wu wei'' () is an ancient Chinese concept literally meaning "inexertion", "inaction", or "effortless action". ''Wu wei'' emerged in the Spring and Autumn period, and from Confucianism, to become an important concept in Chinese statecraft and Ta ...
). The qualities of a ruler, his "mental power, moral excellence and physical prowess" are irrelevant. He discards his private reason and morality, and shows no personal feelings. What is important is his method of government. Fa (administrative standards) require no perfection on the part of the ruler.Ellen Marie Chen, 1975 pp. 2,4, 6–9 Reason and Nature in the Han Fei-Tzu, Journal of Chinese Philosophy Volume 2. Han Fei's use of Wu-Wei may have been derivative of Taoism, but its Tao emphasizes autocracy ("Tao does not identify with anything but itself, the ruler does not identify with the ministers").
Sinologists Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by populati ...
like Randall P. Peerenboom argue that Han Fei's Shu (technique) is arguably more of a "practical principle of political control" than any state of mind. Han Fei nonetheless begins by advising the ruler to remain "empty and still". Han Fei's commentary on the Tao Te Ching asserts that perspectiveless knowledge – an absolute point of view – is possible, though the chapter may have been one of his earlier writings.


Performance and title (Xing-Ming)

Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
was notoriously focused on what he termed Xing-Ming (), which
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty The Han dynasty (, ; ) was an imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 9 AD, 25–220 AD), established by Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao) and ruled by the H ...
and Liu Xiang define as "holding actual outcome accountable to Ming (speech)". In line with both the Confucian and Mohist
rectification of names The rectification of names () is originally a doctrine of feudal Confucian Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, ...
, it is relatable to the Confucian tradition in which a promise or undertaking, especially in relation to a government aim, entails punishment or reward, though the tight, centralized control emphasized by both his philosophy and that of his predecessor
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
's conflicts with the Confucian idea of the autonomous minister. Possibly referring to the drafting and imposition of laws and standardized legal terms, Xing-Ming may originally have meant "punishments and names", but with the emphasis on the latter. It functions through binding declarations (Ming), like a legal contract. Verbally committing oneself, a candidate is allotted a job, indebting him to the ruler. "Naming" people to (objectively determined) positions, it rewards or punished according to the proposed job description and whether the results fit the task entrusted by their word, which a real minister fulfils. Han Fei insists on the perfect congruence between words and deeds. Fitting the name is more important than results. The completion, achievement, or result of a job is its assumption of a fixed form (xing), which can then be used as a standard against the original claim (ming).John Makeham 1994 p. 75. Name and Actuality in Early Chinese Thought. https://books.google.com/books?id=GId_ASbEI2YC&pg=PA75 A large claim but a small achievement is inappropriate to the original verbal undertaking, while a larger achievement takes credit by overstepping the bounds of office.Makeham, J. (1990) pp. 96, 98. The Legalist Concept of Hsing-Ming: An Example of the Contribution of Archaeological Evidence to the Re-Interpretation of Transmitted Texts. Monumenta Serica, 39, 87–114. Han Fei's "brilliant ruler" "orders names to name themselves and affairs to settle themselves". Assessing the accountability of his words to his deeds,Makeham, J. (1990) p. 90. The Legalist Concept of Hsing-Ming: An Example of the Contribution of Archaeological Evidence to the Re-Interpretation of Transmitted Texts. Monumenta Serica, 39, 87–114. the ruler attempts to "determine rewards and punishments in accordance with a subject's true merit" (using Fa). It is said that using names (ming) to demand realities (shi) exalts superiors and curbs inferiors, provides a check on the discharge of duties, and naturally results in emphasizing the high position of superiors, compelling subordinates to act in the manner of the latter. Han Fei considers Xing-Ming an essential element of
autocracy Autocracy is a system of government in which absolute power over a state is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject neither to external legal restraints nor to regularized mechanisms of popular control (except pe ...
, saying that "In the way of assuming Oneness names are of first importance. When names are put in order, things become settled down; when they go awry, things become unfixed." He emphasizes that through this system, initially developed by Shen Buhai, uniformity of language could be developed, functions could be strictly defined to prevent conflict and corruption, and objective rules (Fa) impervious to divergent interpretation could be established, judged solely by their effectiveness. By narrowing down the options to exactly one, discussions on the "right way of government" could be eliminated. Whatever the situation (shi) brings is the correct Dao. Though recommending use of
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
's techniques, Han Fei's Xing-Ming is both considerably narrower and more specific. The functional dichotomy implied in Han Fei's mechanistic accountability is not readily implied in Shen's, and might be said to be more in line with the later thought of the Han dynasty linguist Xu Gan than that of either Shen Buhai or his supposed teacher
Xun Kuang Xun Kuang (; BCE), better known as Xunzi (; ), was a Chinese Philosophy, philosopher of Confucianism who lived during the late Warring States period. After his predecessors Confucius and Mencius, Xunzi is often ranked as the third great Confuc ...
.


The "Two Handles"

Though not entirely accurately, most Han works identify Shang Yang with penal law. Its discussion of bureaucratic control is simplistic, chiefly advocating punishment and reward. Shang Yang was largely unconcerned with the organization of the bureaucracy apart from this. The use of these "two handles" (punishment and reward) nonetheless forms a primary premise of Han Fei's administrative theory. However, he includes it under his theory of Shu in connection with Xing-Ming. As a matter of illustration, if the "keeper of the hat" lays a robe on the sleeping Emperor, he has to be put to death for overstepping his office, while the "keeper of the robe" has to be put to death for failing to do his duty.Eileen Tamura 1997 p. 54. China: Understanding Its Past, Volume 1. https://books.google.com/books?id=O0TQ_Puz-w8C&pg=PA54 The philosophy of the "Two Handles" likens the ruler to the tiger or leopard, which "overpowers other animals by its sharp teeth and claws"(rewards and punishments). Without them he is like any other man; his existence depends upon them. To "avoid any possibility of usurpation by his ministers", power and the "handles of the law" must "not be shared or divided", concentrating them in the ruler exclusively. In practice, this means that the ruler must be isolated from his ministers. The elevation of ministers endangers the ruler, with which he must be kept strictly apart. Punishment confirms his sovereignty; law eliminates anyone who oversteps his boundary, regardless of intention. Law "aims at abolishing the selfish element in man and the maintenance of public order", making the people responsible for their actions. Han Fei's rare appeal (among Legalists) to the use of scholars (law and method specialists) makes him comparable to the Confucians, in that sense. The ruler cannot inspect all officials himself, and must rely on the decentralized (but faithful) application of laws and methods (fa). Contrary to Shen Buhai and his own rhetoric, Han Fei insists that loyal ministers (like
Guan Zhong Guan Zhong (; c. 720–645 BC) was a Chinese philosopher and politician. He served as Grand chancellor (China), chancellor and was a reformer of the Qi (state), State of Qi during the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. His given name ...
,
Shang Yang Shang Yang (; c. 390 – 338 BC), also known as Wei Yang () and originally surnamed Gongsun, was a Chinese jurist, philosopher, and politician.Antonio S. Cua (ed.), 2003, p. 362, ''Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy'"The fifth important legali ...
, and Wu Qi) exist, and upon their elevation with maximum authority. Though Fajia sought to enhance the power of the ruler, this scheme effectively neutralizes him, reducing his role to the maintenance of the system of reward and punishments, determined according to impartial methods and enacted by specialists expected to protect him through their usage thereof. Combining Shen Buhai's methods with Shang Yang's insurance mechanisms, Han Fei's ruler simply employs anyone offering their services.


Enlightened absolutism

Even if the Fajia were not ardent absolutists (and Han Fei believed that most rulers would be average), they would never dream of openly challenging absolutism, and its methods are presented as empowering the ruler. Han Fei's doctrine, however, challenges its absolutist premise out of its own mouth. In order for its administration to function, the ruler must act as a cog in its operation, and that alone. The operation of Fa implies non-interference not only in its application, but also in its development, determined through method.
Sinologist Sinology, or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, Chinese language, language, Chinese literature, literature, Chinese culture, culture and History of China, history and ...
Xuezhi Guo contrasts the Confucian "Humane ruler" with the Legalists as "intending to create a truly 'enlightened ruler. He quotes
Benjamin I. Schwartz Benjamin Isadore Schwartz (December 12, 1916 – November 14, 1999) was an American academic, political scientist, and sinology, sinologist who wrote on a wide range of topics in Chinese politics and intellectual history. He taught at Harvard hi ...
as describing the features of a truly Legalist "enlightened ruler": As easily as mediocre carpenters can draw circles by employing a compass, anyone can employ the system Han Fei envisions. The enlightened ruler restricts his desires and refrains from displays of personal ability or input in policy. Capability is not dismissed, but the ability to use talent will allow the ruler greater power if he can utilize others with the given expertise. Laws and regulations allow him to utilize his power to the utmost. Adhering unwaveringly to legal and institutional arrangements, the average monarch is numinous. A.C. Graham writes: Resting empty, the ruler simply checks "shapes" against "names" and dispenses rewards and punishments accordingly, concretizing the Tao ("path") of Laozi into standards for right and wrong. Submerged by the system he supposedly runs, the alleged despot disappears from the scene.


Later history


Fall

Guided by Legalist thought, the First Qin Emperor
Qin Shi Huang Qin Shi Huang (, ; 259–210 BC) was the founder of the Qin dynasty and the first Emperor of China, emperor of a unified China. Rather than maintain the title of "Chinese king, king" ( ''wáng'') borne by the previous Shang dynasty, Shang an ...
conquered and unified the China's warring states into thirty-six administrative provinces, under what is commonly thought of as the first Chinese
empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". The center of the empire (sometimes referred to as the metropole) ex ...
, the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty ( ; zh, c=秦朝, p=Qín cháo, w=), or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles romanization ( zh, c=, p=, w=Ch'in ch'ao), was the first dynasty of Imperial China. Named for its heartland in Qin state (modern Gansu Gansu (, ; ...
. The Qin document "On the Way of Being an Official" proclaims the ideal official as a responsive conduit, transmitting the facts of his locale to the court, and its orders, without interposing his own will or ideas. It charges the official to obey his superiors, limit his desires, and to build roads to smooth the transmitting of directives from the center without modification. It praises loyalty, absence of bias, deference, and the appraisal of facts.Mark Edward Lewis, 1999 p. 22, Writing and Authority in Early China The intrastate
realpolitik ''Realpolitik'' (; ) refers to enacting or engaging in diplomatic or political policies based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than strictly binding itself to explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical ...
would end up devouring the philosophers themselves. Holding that if punishments were heavy and the law equally applied, neither the powerful nor the weak would be able to escape consequences,
Shang Yang Shang Yang (; c. 390 – 338 BC), also known as Wei Yang () and originally surnamed Gongsun, was a Chinese jurist, philosopher, and politician.Antonio S. Cua (ed.), 2003, p. 362, ''Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy'"The fifth important legali ...
advocated the state's right to punish even the ruler's tutor, and ran afoul of the future King Huiwen of Qin (–311 BC). Whereas at one point, Shang Yang had the power to exile his opponents (and, thus, eviscerate individual criticism) to border regions of the state, he was captured by a law he had introduced and died being torn into pieces by
chariot A chariot is a type of cart driven by a charioteer, usually using horses to provide rapid motive power. The oldest known chariots have been found in burials of the Sintashta culture in modern-day Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, dated to c. 2000  ...
s. Similarly,
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
would end up being poisoned by his envious former classmate
Li Si Li Si (Mandarin: ; BCSeptember or October 208 BC) was a Chinese philosopher, politician, and calligrapher of the Qin dynasty. He served as Chancellor (China), Chancellor (or Prime Minister) from 246 to 208 BC under two rulers: Qin Shi Huang, ...
, who in turn would be killed (under the law he had introduced) by the aggressive and violent Second Qin Emperor that he had helped to take the throne. As recorded in the
Shiji ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese name ''Shiji'', is a monumental history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600– ...
and
Book of Han The ''Book of Han'' or ''History of the Former Han'' (Qián Hàn Shū,《前汉书》) is a history of China finished in 111AD, covering the Western, or Former Han dynasty from the first emperor in 206 BCE to the fall of Wang Mang in 23 CE. ...
, the
Han dynasty The Han dynasty (, ; ) was an imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 9 AD, 25–220 AD), established by Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao) and ruled by the House of Liu. The dynasty was preceded by the short-lived Qin dynasty (22 ...
took over the governmental institutions of the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty ( ; zh, c=秦朝, p=Qín cháo, w=), or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles romanization ( zh, c=, p=, w=Ch'in ch'ao), was the first dynasty of Imperial China. Named for its heartland in Qin state (modern Gansu Gansu (, ; ...
almost unchanged, but in its early decades it was not a centralized state, parcelling out the country to a number of relatives, who as vassal kings who ruled with full authority. The reputation of Legalism suffered from its association with the former Qin dynasty. Sima Tan, though hailing the Fa "school" for "honouring rulers and derogating subjects, and clearly distinguishing offices so that no one can overstep is responsibilities, criticized the Legalist approach as "a one-time policy that could not be constantly applied". Though different philosophically, the pairing of figures like Shen Buhai and Shang Yang along with Han Fei became common in the early Han dynasty, Sima Tan glossing the three as Fa Jia and his son as adherents of "xing ming" ("performance and title"). The syncretic
Han Dynasty The Han dynasty (, ; ) was an imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 9 AD, 25–220 AD), established by Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao) and ruled by the House of Liu. The dynasty was preceded by the short-lived Qin dynasty (22 ...
text, the
Huainanzi The ''Huainanzi'' is an ancient Chinese text that consists of a collection of essays that resulted from a series of scholarly debates held at the court of Liu An, Prince of Huainan, sometime before 139. The ''Huainanzi'' blends Daoist, Confuci ...
writes that Usually referring to Warring States period philosophers, during the Han Fajia would be used for others disliked by the Confucian orthodoxy, like the otherwise Confucianistic reformers
Guan Zhong Guan Zhong (; c. 720–645 BC) was a Chinese philosopher and politician. He served as Grand chancellor (China), chancellor and was a reformer of the Qi (state), State of Qi during the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. His given name ...
and Xunzi, and the Huang-Lao Taoists.


Later influences (Xing-Ming)

The
Shiji ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese name ''Shiji'', is a monumental history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600– ...
records Li Si as repeatedly recommending "supervising and holding responsible", which he attributed to
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
. A stele set up by
Qin Shi Huang Qin Shi Huang (, ; 259–210 BC) was the founder of the Qin dynasty and the first Emperor of China, emperor of a unified China. Rather than maintain the title of "Chinese king, king" ( ''wáng'') borne by the previous Shang dynasty, Shang an ...
memorializes him as a sage that, taking charge of the government, established Xing-Ming. In the early Han dynasty, Sima Tan's Taoist syncretism almost unmistakably uses the same sort of technique as Shen Buhai, saying: The
Huang–Lao ''Huang–Lao'' or ''Huanglao'' () was the most influential Hundred Schools of Thought, Chinese school of thought in the early 2nd-century BCE Han dynasty, having its origins in a broader political-philosophical drive looking for solutions to stre ...
text Jing fa says The Shiji states that
Emperor Wen of Han Emperor Wen of Han (; 203/202 – 6 July 157 BCE), born Liu Heng (), was the fifth emperor of China, emperor of the Western Han dynasty in China from 180 to his death in 157 BCE. The son of Emperor Gaozu of Han, Emperor Gao and Empress Dowager B ...
was "basically fond of Xing-Ming". Jia Yi advised Wen to teach his heir to use Shen Buhai's method, so as to be able to "supervise the functions of the many officials and understand the usages of government". Pressure groups saw Jia Yi's dismissal, but was brought back to criticize the government. Two advisors to Wen's heir,
Emperor Jing of Han Emperor Jing of Han (Liu Qi (劉啟); 188 BC – 9 March 141 BC) was the sixth emperor of China, emperor of the Chinese Han dynasty from 157 to 141 BC. His reign saw the limiting of the power of the feudal kings/princes which resulted in the Re ...
were students of Xing-Ming, one passing the highest grade of examination, and admonished Jing for not using it on the feudal lords. By the time of the civil service examination was put into place, Confucian influence saw outright discussion of Shen Buhai banned. Xing-Ming is not discussed by Imperial University's promoter, the famous Confucian
Dong Zhongshu Dong Zhongshu (; 179–104 BC) was a Chinese people, Chinese philosopher, politician, and writer of the Han Dynasty. He is traditionally associated with the promotion of Confucianism as the official ideology of the Chinese imperial state. He app ...
. However, the Emperor under which it was founded,
Emperor Wu of Han Emperor Wu of Han (156 – 29 March 87BC), formally posthumous name, enshrined as Emperor Wu the filial piety, Filial (), born Liu Che (劉徹) and courtesy name Tong (通), was the seventh emperor of China, emperor of the Han dynasty of imperi ...
, was both familiar with and favorable to Legalist ideas, and the civil service examination did not come into existence until its support by Gongsun Hong, who did write a book on Xing-Ming. The
Emperor Xuan of Han Emperor Xuan of Han (Liu Xun 劉詢, né Liu Bingyi 劉病已; born 91 BC – 10 January 48 BC) was the tenth emperor of the Chinese Han dynasty The Han dynasty (, ; ) was an imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 9 AD, 25–220 AD), ...
was still said by Liu Xiang to have been fond of reading Shen Buhai, using Xing-Ming to control his subordinates and devoting much time to legal cases. Regarded as being in opposition to Confucians, as early as the Eastern Han its full and original meaning would be forgotten. Yet the writings of
Dong Zhongshu Dong Zhongshu (; 179–104 BC) was a Chinese people, Chinese philosopher, politician, and writer of the Han Dynasty. He is traditionally associated with the promotion of Confucianism as the official ideology of the Chinese imperial state. He app ...
discuss personnel testing and control in a manner sometimes hardly distinguishable from the ''Han Feizi''. Like Shen Buhai, he dissuades against reliance upon punishments. As Confucianism ascended the term disappeared, but appears again in later dynasties. The
Yongzheng Emperor The Yongzheng Emperor (13 December 1678 – 8 October 1735), also known by his Temple name, temple name Emperor Shizong of Qing, born Yinzhen, was the fourth List of emperors of the Qing dynasty, Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the third Qing e ...
of the Qing dynasty was said by to "xunming zishe", or "demand performance in accordance with title", a near-verbatim usage of the ''Han Feizi''.


Imperial China


Han dynasty

The administration and political theory developed during the formative
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded ...
would still influence every dynasty thereafter, as well as the Confucian philosophy that underlay Chinese political and juridical institutions. The influence of the Fajia on Han Confucianism is very apparent, adopting
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
's emphasis of a supreme ruler and authoritarian system rather than
Mencius Mencius ( ); born Mèng Kē (); or Mèngzǐ (; 372–289 BC) was a Chinese Confucianism, Confucian Chinese philosophy, philosopher who has often been described as the "second Sage", that is, second to Confucius himself. He is part of Confuc ...
's devaluation thereof, or
Xun Kuang Xun Kuang (; BCE), better known as Xunzi (; ), was a Chinese Philosophy, philosopher of Confucianism who lived during the late Warring States period. After his predecessors Confucius and Mencius, Xunzi is often ranked as the third great Confuc ...
's emphasis on the Tao.
Shen Buhai Shen Buhai (; c. 400c. 337) was a Chinese essayist, philosopher, and politician. He served as Chancellor of China, Chancellor of the Han (state), Han state under Marquis Zhao of Han for fifteen years, from 354 BC to 337 BC. A contemporary of sy ...
's book appears to have been widely studied at the beginning of the Han era. As protégé of a Han Dynasty Commandant of Justice that had studied under
Li Si Li Si (Mandarin: ; BCSeptember or October 208 BC) was a Chinese philosopher, politician, and calligrapher of the Qin dynasty. He served as Chancellor (China), Chancellor (or Prime Minister) from 246 to 208 BC under two rulers: Qin Shi Huang, ...
, Jia Yi was a student of Shen Buhai through them. Jia describes Shen Buhai's Shu as a particular method of applying the Tao, or virtue, bringing together Confucian and Taoist discourses. He uses the imagery of the Zhuangzi of the knife and hatchet as examples of skillful technique in both virtue and force, saying "benevolence, righteousness, kindness and generosity are the ruler's sharp knife. Power, purchase, law and regulation are his axe and hatchet." His writings blame the fall of the Qin dynasty simply on the education of the second emperor. He would draw up elaborate plans for reorganizing the bureaucracy, which
Emperor Wen of Han Emperor Wen of Han (; 203/202 – 6 July 157 BCE), born Liu Heng (), was the fifth emperor of China, emperor of the Western Han dynasty in China from 180 to his death in 157 BCE. The son of Emperor Gaozu of Han, Emperor Gao and Empress Dowager B ...
put into effect. Shen Buhai never attempts to articulate natural or ethical foundations for his Fa (administrative method), nor does he provide any metaphysical grounds for his method of appointment (later termed "xing-ming"),R. P. Peerenboom 1993 p. 242. Law and Morality in Ancient China. https://books.google.com/books?id=ctWt6bvFaNAC&pg=PA242 but later texts do. The Huang-Lao work Boshu grounds fa and xing-ming in the Taoist Dao. The ''
Discourses on Salt and Iron The Discourses on Salt and Iron () was a debate held at the imperial court in 81 BCE on state policy during the Han dynasty in China. The previous emperor, Emperor Wu of Han, Emperor Wu, had reversed the laissez-faire policies of his predecessors a ...
''s Lord Grand Secretary uses Shang Yang in his argument against the dispersion of the people, stating that "a Sage cannot order things as he wishes in an age of anarchy". He recalls Lord Shang's chancellery as firm in establishing laws and creating orderly government and education, resulting in profit and victory in every battle. Although
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a Religious Confucianism, religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, ...
was promoted by the new emperors, the government continued to be run by Legalists.
Emperor Wu of Han Emperor Wu of Han (156 – 29 March 87BC), formally posthumous name, enshrined as Emperor Wu the filial piety, Filial (), born Liu Che (劉徹) and courtesy name Tong (通), was the seventh emperor of China, emperor of the Han dynasty of imperi ...
(140–87 BC) barred Legalist scholars from official positions and established a university for the study of the Confucian classics, but his policies and his most trusted advisers were Legalist.
Michael Loewe Michael Arthur Nathan Loewe (born 2 November 1922) is a British Sinologist, historian, and writer who has authored dozens of books, articles, and other publications in the fields of Classical Chinese as well as the history of History of Chin ...
called the reign of Emperor Wu the "high point" of Modernist (classically justified Legalist) policies, looking back to "adapt ideas from the pre-Han period". An official ideology cloaking Legalist practice with Confucian rhetoric would endure throughout the imperial period, a tradition commonly described as ''wàirú nèifǎ'' (). It became commonplace to adapt Legalist theories to the Han state by justifying them using the classics, or combining them with the notion of the "way" or "pattern of the cosmos" ("The Way gave birth to law" Huangdi Sijing). Some scholars "mourn" the lack of pure examples of Taoism, Confucianism and Legalism in the Han dynasty more generally. Han sources would nonetheless come to "treat Legalism as an alternative to the methods of the Classicists". During the decay of the Han Dynasty, many scholars again took up an interest in Legalism, Taoism and even Mohism,Fan Dainian, Robert S. Cohen, 1996 Chinese Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology https://books.google.com/books?id=vi4GCAAAQBAJ&pg=PA178 and a number of Confucians took up "Legalist" methods to combat the growing disregard for law.


Post-Han

The Records of the Three Kingdoms describes
Cao Cao Cao Cao () (; 155 – 15 March 220), courtesy name Mengde (), was a Chinese statesman, warlord and poet. He was the penultimate Grand chancellor (China), grand chancellor of the Eastern Han dynasty, and he amassed immense power in the End of ...
as a hero who "devised and implemented strategies, lorded the world over, wielded skillfully the law and political technique of Shen Buhai and Shang Yang, and unified the ingenious strategies of Han Fei".
Zhuge Liang Zhuge Liang ( zh, t=諸葛亮 / 诸葛亮) (181 – September 234), courtesy name Kongming, was a Chinese statesman and military strategist. He was Chancellor (China), chancellor and later regent of the state of Shu Han during the Three King ...
also attached great importance to the works of Shen Buhai and Han Fei. The tendency toward Legalism is apparent in intellectual circles toward the end of the Han dynasty, and would be reinforced by
Cao Wei Wei (Hanzi: 魏; pinyin: ''Wèi'' < Middle Chinese: *''ŋjweiC'' < Eastern Han Chinese: *''ŋuiC'') (220–266), known as Cao Wei or Former Wei in historiography, ...
. Dispossessed peasants were organized into paramilitary agricultural colonies to increase food production for the army, and penal legislation increased. These policies would be followed by the
Northern Wei Wei (), known in historiography as the Northern Wei (), Tuoba Wei (), Yuan Wei () and Later Wei (), was founded by the Tuoba (Tabgach) clan of the Xianbei. The first of the Northern and Southern dynasties#Northern dynasties, Northern dynasties ...
.
Emperor Wen of Sui The Emperor Wen of Sui (; 21 July 541 – 13 August 604), personal name Yang Jian (), Xianbei name Puliuru Jian (), alias Narayana () deriving from Buddhist terms, was the founder and the first Emperor of China, emperor of the Chinese Sui dynas ...
is recorded as having withdrawn his favour from the Confucians, giving it to "the group advocating Xing-Ming and authoritarian government". But Wen might be said to have already been steeped in a Legalist tradition followed by the aristocratic institutions of the
northern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period of political division in the history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), ...
, who concerned themselves with functional organization and social hierarchy. The
Sui dynasty The Sui dynasty (, ) was a short-lived imperial dynasty of China that lasted from 581 to 618. The Sui unified the Northern and Southern dynasties, thus ending the long period of division following the fall of the Western Jin dynasty, and la ...
and
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; zh, t= ), or Tang Empire, was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD, with an Zhou dynasty (690–705), interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dyn ...
were largely based upon the
Western Wei Wei (), known in historiography as the Western Wei (), was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China that followed the disintegration of the Northern Wei. One of the Northern and Southern dynasties#Northern dynasties, Northern dyn ...
and
Northern Zhou Zhou (), known in historiography as the Northern Zhou (), was a Xianbei The Xianbei (; ) were a Proto-Mongols, Proto-Mongolic ancient nomadic people that once resided in the eastern Eurasian steppes in what is today Mongolia, Inner Mongol ...
, refining pre-existing institutions and taking measures against the aristocracy.Hengy Chye Kiang 1999. p. 46. Cities of Aristocrats and Bureaucrats. https://books.google.com/books?id=BIgS4p8NykYC&pg=PA44 Quoting Arthur Wright, Author Hengy Chye Kiang calls the Sui dynasty a "strong autocratic power with a penchant for Legalist philosophy", and its prime minister Gao Jiong "a man of practical statecraft" recalling the great Legalist statesmen. His influence saw the replacement of Confucians with officials of "Legalist" outlook favoring centralization. Under Legalist influence, Li Gou and
Wang Anshi Wang Anshi ; ; December 8, 1021 – May 21, 1086), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultu ...
emphasised seeking profit for the people. Deng Guangming argued that Wang Anshi was influenced by Warring States-era Legalism, with his emphasis on "enriching the state and strengthening the army" and Legalist ideas of law. His baojia system which survived until the end of Imperial China has been described as a Legalist device.


Ming dynasty

Li Shanchang (1314–1390), a founding Prime Minister of the
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol Empire, Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last ort ...
, studied Chinese Legalism. It is said that Li was the Emperor Hongwu's closest comrade during the war, and greatest contributor to his ultimate victory and thus establishment of the Ming Dynasty. Deeply trusted by the Emperor, Hongwu consulted Li on institutional matters. Li planned the organization of the "six ministries" and shared in the drafting of a new law code. He established salt and tea monopolies based on Yuan institutions, eliminated corruption, restored minted currency, opened iron foundries, and instituted fish taxes. It is said that revenues were sufficient, yet the people were not oppressed.Taylor, R. (1963) pp. 53–54. SOCIAL ORIGINS OF THE MING DYNASTY 1351–1360. Monumenta Serica, 22(1), 1–78. Most of his other activities seem to have supported
Hongwu Emperor The Hongwu Emperor (21 October 1328 – 24 June 1398), personal name Zhu Yuanzhang (), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practi ...
's firm control of his regime. Mainly responsible for ferreting out disloyalty and factionalism among military officers, he used a reward and punishment system reminiscent of the Han Feizi, and may have had a kind of secret police in his service. At times he had charge of all civil and military officials in Nanking. In 1572
Zhang Juzheng Zhang Juzheng (; 26 May 1525 – 9 July 1582), Chinese courtesy name, courtesy name Shuda (), Art name, pseudonym Taiyue (), was a Chinese politician who served as Grand Secretariat, Senior Grand Secretary () in the late Ming dynasty during th ...
, a legalistic, prime-minister like figure of the Ming Dynasty, had the young emperor of the time issue a warning edict against China's bureaucracy with the reference that they had abandoned the public interest for their own private interests. It reads: "From now on, you will be pure in your hearts and scrupulous in your work. You will not harbor private designs and deceive your sovereign ... You will not complicate debates and disconcert the government." It suggests that good government will prevail as long as top ministers were resolute in administration of the empire and minor officials were selflessly devoted to the public good. It is said that the officials became "very guarded and circumspect" following its release. His "On Equalizing Taxes and Succoring the People" postulated that the partiality of local officials toward powerful local interests was responsible for abuses in tax collection, hurting both the common people and the Ming state. Zhang Juzheng wrote that "it is not difficult to erect laws, but it is difficult to see they are enforced". His Regulation for Evaluating Achievements (kao cheng fa) assigned time limits for following government directives and made officials responsible for any lapses, enabling Zhang to monitor bureaucratic efficiency and direct a more centralized administration. That the rules were not ignored are a testament to his basic success.


Modern

In the nineteenth century,
Shang Yang Shang Yang (; c. 390 – 338 BC), also known as Wei Yang () and originally surnamed Gongsun, was a Chinese jurist, philosopher, and politician.Antonio S. Cua (ed.), 2003, p. 362, ''Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy'"The fifth important legali ...
's slogan of "rich country, strong army" was reinvoked in Japan as a "formal ideological foundation of industrial and technological development". In the midst of the decline of the Qing dynasty in the late-19th century, understanding of Confucianism was transformed, turning towards practicality (the School of Practical Statecraft, substantial learning). For some reformist scholars the focus on Confucianism was eroded in favour of Legalist principles of ''bian-fa'' (state reform), ''fu-qiang'' (state wealth and power) and even ''shang-zhan'' (economic warfare). Albert Feuerwerker argues that this Legalist ''raison d'etat'' ultimately was connected to the reform proposals of the 1890s, such as the Hundred Days Reform, and thence the
New Policies Late Qing reforms (), commonly known as New Policies of the late Qing dynasty (), or New Deal of the late Qing dynasty, simply referred to as New Policies, were a series of cultural, economic, educational, military, and political reforms implemen ...
of the early twentieth century. Western science was integrated into the Confucian worldview as an interpretation and application of Confucian principles. Legalism was partly rehabilitated in the twentieth century by new generations of intellectuals. One, Mai Menghua (1874–1915), promulgated interest in Shang Yang's thought, comparing Shang Yang's view of history with the evolutionary ideas of western theorists. The
New Culture Movement The New Culture Movement () was a movement in Beiyang government, China in the 1910s and 1920s that criticized classical Chinese ideas and promoted a new Chinese culture based upon progressive, modern and western ideals like democracy and scie ...
leader, Hu Shi (1891–1962), hailed Han Fei and Li Si for their "brave spirit of opposing those who 'do not make the present into their teacher but learn from the past.
Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT), also referred to as the Guomindang (GMD), the Nationalist Party of China (NPC) or the Chinese Nationalist Party (CNP), is a major political party in the Taiwan, Republic of China, initially on the Mainland China, Chin ...
leader
Hu Hanmin Hu Hanmin (; born in Panyu District, Panyu, Guangdong, Qing dynasty, China, 9 December 1879 – Guangdong, Kwangtung, Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China, 12 May 1936) was a Chinese philosopher and politician who was one of the ...
(1879–1936) wrote the preface to a new edition of the Book of Lord Shang. Because Fajia ignored differences among subjects, early twentieth century Chinese scholarship often viewed it within the context of Western "
rule of law The rule of law is the political philosophy that all citizens and institutions within a country, state, or community are accountable to the same laws, including lawmakers and leaders. The rule of law is defined in the ''Encyclopedia Britannica ...
". One 1922 article, "The Antiquity of Chinese Law", attributes three legal theories to Han Fei, and referred to him as a "jurist". From the 1920s on it was viewed as being in a historical struggle with the Confucian "rule of men". The early Mao Zedong has been described as a "dyed-in-the-wool" Legalist or "Lord Shang-style 'sage ruler', who defined the law according to revolutionary needs". Communist intellectuals used the Fajia in their criticism of Confucianism, describing the conflict between the two as
class struggle Class conflict, also referred to as class struggle and class warfare, is the political tension and economic antagonism that exists in society because of socio-economic competition among the social classes or between rich and poor. The form ...
. In 1950, the PRC combined law with campaigns against political enemies, and appeals to the Fajia for solutions became common after the
Great Leap Forward The Great Leap Forward (Second Five Year Plan) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) was an economic and social campaign led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 1958 to 1962. Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, CCP Chairman Mao Ze ...
. Fazhi, another historical term for "Legalism", would be used to refer to both socialist legality and Western rule of law. Still contrasted with renzhi (or rule of persons), most Chinese wanted to see it implemented in China. Two decades of reform, the Soviet Union's collapse and a financial crisis in the 1990s only served to increase its importance, and the 1999 constitution was amended to "provide for the establishment of a socialist rule-of-law state", aimed at increasing professionalism in the justice system. Signs and flyers urged citizens to uphold the rule of law. In the following years, figures like Pan Wei, a prominent Beijing political scientist, would advocate for a consultative rule of law with a redefined role for the party and limited freedoms for speech, press, assembly and association. Xingzhong Yu, Professor at Cornell University, describes the PRC through a framework of "State Legalism". Legalist discourse is seeing a resurgence during the
leadership Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization to "lead", influence or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations. The word "leadership" often gets view ...
of
Xi Jinping Xi Jinping ( ; ; ; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician who has served as the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (Ch ...
, who is the
General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party The general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party () is the Party leader, head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the One-party state, sole ruling party of the China, People's Republic of China (PRC). Since 1989, the CCP general secr ...
, with journalists reporting on his fondness for the Chinese classics, alongside Confucianism including Legalist writers and in particular
Han Fei Han Fei (233), also known as Han Feizi or Han Fei Zi, was a Chinese philosopher or statesman of the " Legalist" (Fajia) school during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, anc ...
, both of which Xi sees as relevant. Han Fei gained new prominence with favourable citations. One sentence of Han Fei's that Xi quoted appeared thousands of times in official Chinese media at the local, provincial, and national levels. A key phrase of Xi's reforms is "govern the state according to law" (), focusing on enforcing discipline on party and government officials first.


As Realists

In 1939
Arthur Waley Arthur David Waley (born Arthur David Schloss, 19 August 188927 June 1966) was an English oriental studies, orientalist and Sinology, sinologist who achieved both popular and scholarly acclaim for his translations of Chinese poetry, Chinese and ...
contrasted the Fajia as "Realists": the Realists, he says, largely ignored the individual, holding that the object of any society is to dominate other societies. In this vein, in his 1989 book "Disputers of the Tao" Angus Charles Graham titled his "Legalist" chapter "Legalism: an Amoral Science of Statecraft", sketching the fundamentals of an "amoral science" in Chinese thought largely based on the Han Feizi, consisting of "adapting institutions to changing situations and overruling precedent where necessary; concentrating power in the hands of the ruler; and, above all, maintaining control of the factious bureaucracy". In 2003, Ross Terrill writes that "Chinese Legalism is as Western as
Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes ( ; 5/15 April 1588 – 4/14 December 1679) was an English people, English philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy. Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book ''Leviathan (Hobbes book), Levi ...
, as modern as
Hu Jintao Hu Jintao (born 21 December 1942) is a Chinese politician who served as the 16–17th General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 2002 to 2012, the 6th president of the Peopl ...
. It speaks the universal and timeless language of law and order. The past does not matter, state power is to be maximized, politics has nothing to do with morality, intellectual endeavour is suspect, violence is indispensable, and little is to be expected from the rank and file except an appreciation of force." He calls Legalism the "iron scaffolding of the Chinese Empire", but emphasizes the marriage between Legalism and Confucianism. In 2005, Chinese law expert Randall Peerenboom compares Han Fei with the accepted standards of
legal positivism Legal positivism (as understood in the Anglosphere) is a school of thought of analytical jurisprudence developed largely by legal philosophers during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Jeremy Bentham and John Austin (legal philosopher), John Aus ...
, and concludes that he is a legal positivist. Establishing the ruler as the ultimate authority over the law, he also "shares the belief that morality and the law need not coincide". In China the same year, Liang Zhiping theorized that law initially emerged in China as an instrument by which a single clan exercised control over rival clans. In the earlier
Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in History of China, Chinese history from approximately 770 to 476 BC (or according to some authorities until 403 BC) which corresponds roughly to the first half of the Eastern Zhou period. The period' ...
, a Qin king is recorded as having memorialized on punishment as a ritual function benefiting the people, saying, "I am the little son: respectfully, respectfully I obey and adhere to the shining virtuous power, brightly spread the clear punishments, gravely and reverentially perform my sacrifices to receive manifold blessings. I regulate and harmonize myriad people, gravely from early morning to evening, valorous, valorous, awesome, awesome – the myriad clans are truly disciplined! I completely shield the hundred nobles and the hereditary officers. Staunch, staunch in my civilizing and martial
ower Ower is a hamlet ''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'', often shortened to ''Hamlet'' (), is a tragedy Tragedy (from the grc-gre, wiktionary:τραγῳδία, τραγῳδία, ''tragōidia'', ''tragōidia'') is a genre of d ...
I calm and silence those who do not come to the court udience I mollify and order the hundred states to have them strictly serve the Qin." The Fajia are often still compared in the west to Machiavellianism. The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy paints the Legalists as Realists, stating that "What linked these men is that all were theorists or practitioners of a realistic amoral brand of statecraft aimed at consolidating and strengthening the power and wealth of the state and its autocratic ruler. Their thought was realistic in being premised on what they took to be brute facts about how people actually behave ... It was amoral in that they were utterly unconcerned with whether the institutions and methods they advocated were morally justified." Yuri Pines (2014) terms them as "political realists who sought to attain a 'rich state and a powerful army'(Shang Yang) and to ensure domestic stability."Pines, Yuri, "Legalism in Chinese Philosophy", ''The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy'' (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 2. Philosophical Foundations. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/chinese-legalism/


References


Sources and further reading

* Barbieri-Low, Anthony, trans. ''The Standard Measure of Shang Yang (344 B.C.)'' (2006) * * * Duyvendak, J.J.L., trans. ''The Book of Lord Shang: A Classic of the Chinese School of Law''. London: Probsthain, 1928. * * * See also ** ** * Graham, A.C., ''Disputers of the TAO: Philosophical Argument in Ancient China'' (Open Court 1993). * Harris, Eirik Lang
Legalism
(
Oxford Bibliographies Online Oxford Bibliographies Online (OBO), also known as Oxford Bibliographies, is a web-based compendium of peer-reviewed annotated bibliography, annotated bibliographies and short encyclopedia entries maintained by Oxford University Press. History Oxf ...
) (Oxford University Press, 2018). * * * Pu-hai, Shen. "Appendix C: The Shen Pu-hai Fragments." Shen Pu-hai: A Chinese Political Philosopher of the Fourth Century B.C. Translated by Herrlee G. Creel. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1974. * Qian, Sima. Records of the Grand Historian, Qin Dynasty. Translated by Burton Watson. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. * * Various reprints. * Watson, Burton, trans. Han Fei Tzu: Basic Writings. New York: Columbia University Press, 1964. * Xinzhong, Yao, Introduction to Confucianism (2000). * Potter, Pittman, From Leninist Discipline to Socialist Legalism : Peng Zhen on Law and Political Authority in the PRC2 (2003).


External links


Legalism in Chinese Philosophy
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy The ''Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy'' (''SEP'') combines an online encyclopedia of philosophy with scholarly peer review, peer-reviewed publication of original papers in philosophy, freely accessible to Internet users. It is maintained by S ...
, by Yuri Pines.
"Chinese Legalism (In Our Time, 10/12/15)"


* ttp://ctext.org/legalism Legalist texts
Chinese Text Project The Chinese Text Project (CTP; ) is a digital library project that assembles collections of Chinese classics, early Chinese texts. The name of the project in Chinese literally means "The Chinese Philosophical Book Digitization Project", showing i ...
(Chinese and English)
The Han Feizi

Book of Lord Shang

The Shenzi
{{DEFAULTSORT:Legalism (Chinese Philosophy) Chinese law Classical Chinese philosophy Theories of law Politics of China Political theories Movements in ancient Chinese philosophy Anti-Confucianism