Huangdi Sijing Huainanzi
Guan Zhong Zichan Deng Xi Li Kui Wu Qi
Shen Buhai Duke Xiao of Qin Shang Yang Shen Dao Zhang Yi Xun Kuang Han Fei Li Si Qin Shi Huang
Jia Yi Liu An Emperor Wen of Han Emperor Wu of Han Chao Cuo Gongsun Hong Zhang Tang Huan Tan Wang Fu Zhuge Liang
Emperor Wen of Sui Du You Wang Anshi Li Shanchang Zhang Juzheng Xu Guangqi
v t e
1 Text 2 Statecraft 3 Doctrine of Position (Shih)
3.1 Shen Dao
4 Notes 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links
Thompson states that the Shenzi was available until the fall of the
Tang dynasty, though not in its original edition. Shen Dao's own
original 42 essays have been lost. With only 7 fragments still extant,
he is known largely through short references and the writings of
others, notably the
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 deeds. Shen Dao
Mold for making banliang coins
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 [gong] ("duke" or "public interest"), [private] desires do not oppose the correct timing [of things], favoritism does not violate the law, nobility does not trump the rules, salary does not exceed [that which is due] one's position, a [single] officer does not occupy multiple offices, and a [single] craftsman does not take up multiple lines of work... [Such a ruler] 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." Mencius
The Chinese Immortal
A floating seed of the p'eng plant, meeting a whirlwind, may be carried a thousand li, because it rides on the power (shi) of the wind. If, in measuring an abyss, you know that it is a thousand fathoms deep, it is owing to the figures which you find by dropping a string. By depending on the power (shi) of a thing, you will reach a point, however, distant it may be, and by keeping the proper figures, you will find out the depth, however deep it may be. The Book of Lord Shang
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
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 [the sages] Yao or Shun, and at worst they do not behave like [the arch-tyrants] 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
Searching out the causes of disorder,
^ 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 ^ Xing Lu 1998. Rhetoric in Ancient China, Fifth to Third Century, B.C.E.. p.187. https://books.google.com/books?id=72QURrAppzkC&pg=187 ^ 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. The Confucian Quest for Order. https://books.google.com/books?id=FXJuJl5XTqAC&pg=PA134
^ Masayuki Sato 2003. p.134=135. The Confucian Quest for Order. https://books.google.com/books?id=FXJuJl5XTqAC&pg=PA134 Benjanmin I. Schwartz 1985. p.247. The World of Thought in Ancient China. https://books.google.com/books?id=kA0c1hl3CXUC&pg=PA247 ^ Benjanmin I. Schwartz 1985. p.247. The World of Thought in Ancient China. https://books.google.com/books?id=kA0c1hl3CXUC&pg=PA247 ^ a b c d Erica Brindley, The Polarization of the Concepts Si (Private Interest) and Gong (Public Interest) in Early Chinese Thought. p.6, 8, 12-13, 16, 19, 21-22, 24, 27 ^ Shen Dao's Own Voice, 2011. p.202. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011 ^ Paul R. Goldin, Persistent Misconceptions about Chinese Legalism. p.8-9 https://www.academia.edu/24999390/Persistent_Misconceptions_about_Chinese_Legalism_
Masayuki Sato 2003. p.129. The Confucian Quest for Order. https://books.google.com/books?id=FXJuJl5XTqAC&pg=PA129 Soon-Ja Yang 2013 p.50. Shen Dao's Theory of fa and His Influence on Han Fei. Dao Companion to the Han Feizi. https://books.google.com/books?id=l25hjMyCfnEC&pg=PA50
^ Jacques Gernet 1982 p.90. A History of Chinese Civilization. https://books.google.com/books?id=jqb7L-pKCV8C&pg=PA90
A.C. Graham 1989. p.268. Disputers of the Tao. https://books.google.com/books?id=QBzyCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA268 Karyn Lai 2017. p.175. An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy. https://books.google.com/books?id=3M1WDgAAQBAJ&pg=PA175
^ Antonio S. Cua 2003 p.362, Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy https://books.google.com/books?id=yTv_AQAAQBAJ&pg=PA363
S.Y. Hsieh, 1995. p.93 Chinese Thought: An Introduction. https://books.google.com/books?id=-E5LZeR7QKwC&pg=PA93 Soon-Ja Yang 2013 p.49. Shen Dao's Theory of fa and His Influence on Han Fei. Dao Companion to the Han Feizi. https://books.google.com/books?id=l25hjMyCfnEC&pg=PA49 Paul R. Goldin, Persistent Misconceptions about Chinese Legalism. p.8 https://www.academia.edu/24999390/Persistent_Misconceptions_about_Chinese_Legalism_
^ a b c d Shen Dao's Own Voice, 2011. p.203-205. Springer
Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
^ Eric L. Hutton 2008. p.437 Han Feizi's Criticism of Confucianism and
its Implications for Virtue Ethics.
^ John Emerson 2012. p. 11. A Study of Shen Dao.
^ Jacques Gernet 1982 p.92. A History of Chinese Civilization.
^ Chen, Chao Chuan an Yueh-Ting Lee 2008 p.12. Leadership and
Management in China
Burton Watson 2003. p.129. Xunzi: Basic Writings. https://books.google.com/books?id=0SE2AAAAQBAJ&pg=PA129
^ a b 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/
Creel 1974: 380
^ S.Y. Hsieh, 1995. p.93 Chinese Thought: An Introduction. https://books.google.com/books?id=-E5LZeR7QKwC&pg=PA93
Shen Dao's Own Voice, 2011. p.205. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
^ Shen Dao's Own Voice, 2011. p.200,202. Springer Science+Business
Media B.V. 2011
^ Chen, Chao Chuan an Yueh-Ting Lee 2008 p.113. Leadership and
Management in China
^ John Emerson 2012. p. 11. A Study of Shen Dao.
^ John Emerson 2012. p.11. A Study of Shen Dao.
^ B.W. Van Norden. 2013 p.49.
Soon-Ja Yang 2013 p.49. Shen Dao's Theory of fa and His Influence on Han Fei. Dao Companion to the Han Feizi. Karyn Lai 2017. p.174. An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy. https://books.google.com/books?id=3M1WDgAAQBAJ&pg=PA170
Knechtges, David R. (2014). "Shenzi 慎子". In Knechtges, David R.; Chang, Taiping. Ancient and Early Medieval Chinese Literature: A Reference Guide, Part Two. Leiden: Brill. pp. 871–874. ISBN 978-90-04-19240-9.
The Shenzi Fragments: A Philosophical Analysis and Translation translated by Eirik Lang Harris, 2016, Columbia University Press
Shen Dao: Text and Translation
Hong Kong University
WorldCat Identities VIAF: 17629