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SHEN DAO (Chinese : 慎到; c. 350 – c. 275 BC) was a "Chinese
Legalist " theoretician most remembered for his influence on Han Fei
with regards to the concept of shi 勢 (circumstantial advantage,
power, or authority), though most of his book concerns the concept of
fa 法 (administrative methods "> Thompson states that the Shenzi was
available until the fall of the Tang dynasty, though not in its
original edition. In 2007, the
Shanghai Museum published a collection
of texts written on bamboo slips from the State of Chu dating to the
Warring States period
Iron weight dated from 221 BC with 41 inscriptions written in seal script about standardizing weights and measures during the 1st year of Qin dynasty
Where there is a scale, people cannot deceive others about weight;
where there is a ruler, people cannot deceive others about length; and
where there is Fa, people cannot deceive others about one's words and
The Dao of ruler and ministers is that the ministers labour themselves with tasks while the prince has no task; the prince is relaxed and happy while the ministers bear responsibility for tasks. The ministers use all their intelligence and strength to perform his job satisfactorily, in which the ruler takes no part, but merely waits for the job to be finished. As a result, every task is taken care of. The correct way of government is thus.
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. Scholar
Sugamoto Hirotsugu attributes the concept of Fen, or social resources,
later used by the Guanzi and Xunzi , to Shen, given a "dimensional"
difference through Fa (measurement, standards, protocol,
administrative method), social relationships ("yin") and division.
If one rabbit runs through a town street, and a hundred chase it, it is because its distribution has not been determined... If the distribution has already been determined, even the basest people will not fight for it. The way to control All-under-Heaven and the country lies solely in determining distribution.
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.
"The state has the li of high and low rank, but not a li of men of worth and those without talent. There is a li of age an youth, but not of age and cowardice. There is a li of near and distant relatives, but no li of love and hate."
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, 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 favoritism toward a single person."
When an enlightened ruler establishes ("duke" or "public interest"), desires do not oppose the correct timing , favoritism does not violate the law, nobility does not trump the rules, salary does not exceed one's position, a officer does not occupy multiple offices, and a craftsman does not take up multiple lines of work... neither overworked his heart-mind with knowledge nor exhausted himself with self-interest (si), but, rather, depended on laws and methods for settling matters of order and disorder, rewards and punishments for deciding on matters of right and wrong, and weights and balances for resolving issues of heavy or light...
The reason why those who apportion horses use ce-lots, and those who apportion fields use gou-lots, is not that they take ce and gou-lots to be superior to human wisdom, but that one may eliminate private interest and stop resentment by these means. Thus it is said: 'When the great lord relies on fa and does not act personally, affairs are judged in accordance with (objective) method (fa).' The benefit of fa is that each person meets his reward or punishment according to his due, and there are no further expectations of the lord. Thus resentment does not arise and superiors and inferiors are in harmony.
If the lord of men abandons method (Fa) and governs with his own person, then penalties and rewards, seizures and grants, will all emerge from the lord's mind. If this is the case, then those who receive rewards, even if these are commensurate, will ceaselessly expect more; those who receive punishment, even if these are commensurate, will endlessly expect more lenient treatment... people will be rewarded differently for the same merit and punished differently for the same fault. Resentment arises from this."
DOCTRINE OF POSITION (SHIH)
The people of Qi have a saying - "A man may have wisdom and
discernment, but that is not like embracing the favourable
opportunity. A man may have instruments of husbandry, but that is not
like waiting for the farming seasons."
Generally speaking, "
Chinese Legalism " 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. Like Shen
Han Fei says:
The reason why I discuss the power of position is for the sake of… mediocre rulers. These mediocre rulers, at best they do not reach the level of Yao or Shun, and at worst they do not behave like Jie or Zhou. If they hold to the law and depend on the power of their position, there will be order; but if they abandon the power of their position and turn their backs on the law, there will be disorder. Now if one abandons the power of position, turns one's back on the law, and waits for a Yao or Shun, then when a Yao or a Shun arrives there will indeed be order, but it will only be one generation of order in a thousand generations of disorder... Nevertheless, if anyone devotes his whole discourse to the sufficiency of the doctrine of position to govern All-under-Heaven, the limits of his wisdom must be very narrow.
Used in many areas of Chinese thought, Shih probably originated in the military field. Diplomats relied on concepts of situational advantage and opportunity, as well as secrecy (shu) long before the ascendency of such concepts as sovereignty or law, and were used by kings wishing to free themselves from the aristocrats. Sunzi (Art of War) 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 (shih) and tactics (shu).
On the Shih of the Sunzi, relatable to Shen Dao's, Henry Kissinger 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 maneuver them into weaness while building up one's own shi, or strategic position." Kissinger considers the "maneuvering" approach an ideal, but one that ran in contrast to the conlicts of the Qin dynasty.
Searching out the causes of disorder, apart from his recommendation
For Shen Dao, "Power" (Shih) refers to the ability to compel
compliance; it requires no support from the subjects, though it does
not preclude this. (Shih's) merit is that it prevents people from
fighting each other; political authority is justified and essential on
Talent cannot be displayed without power.
Usually disregarded by the Fa-Jia,
* ^ Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Han Fei. Shen Dao’s Theory of fa and His Influence on Han Fei. p49. Soon-ja Yang. * ^ Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Han Fei. Shen Dao’s Theory of fa and His Influence on Han Fei. p52. Soon-ja Yang. * ^ Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Han Fei. Shen Dao’s Theory of fa and His Influence on Han Fei. Soon-ja Yang * ^ John Emerson 2012. p.1. A STUDY OF SHEN DAO * ^ Hansen, Chad, "Zhuangzi", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2015/entries/zhuangzi/ * ^ Antonio S. Cua 2003 p.362, Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy * ^ Knechtges (2014) , p. 871. * ^ Julia Ching, R. W. L. Guisso. 1991. p.76. Sages and Filial Sons. https://books.google.com/books?id=ynfrlFZcUG8C&pg=PA76 * ^ Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Han Fei. Shen Dao’s Theory of fa and His Influence on Han Fei. p48. Soon-ja Yang * ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20120215105445/http://www.ewen.cc/books/bkview.asp?bkid=136537&cid=408155 * ^ Masayuki Sato 2003. p.137. The Confucian Quest for Order. https://books.google.com/books?id=FXJuJl5XTqAC&pg=PA137 * ^ John S. Major, Constance A. Cook. 2007 p.207. Ancient China: A History. https://books.google.com/books?id=vh8xDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT207 * ^ L.K. Chen and H.C.W Sung 2015 p.251 Dao Companion to Daoist Philosophy. https://books.google.com/books?id=L24aBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA251 * ^ Emerson. Shen Dao: Text and Translation
* ^ John Knoblock 1990. p.172. Xunzi: Books 7-16. https://books.google.com/books?id=DNqmAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA172
* Masayuki Sato 2003. p.122,126,133-136. T