Han Feizi (book)


Han Feizi (book)

The Han Feizi is a work written by Han Feizi at the end of the Warring States Period in China, detailing his political philosophy. It belongs to the Legalist school of thought.It is also valuable for its abundance of anecdotes about the China of pre-Qin times.

Theory

Observations on Human Nature

Han Fei developed his legalist theories based on his cold observations of the cruel and interest-oriented society that is ultra-competitive in terms of inter-personal and inter-state social-political-economic patterns during his comtemporary time in the late warring states period. In his youth Han Fei studied with Xunzi, a Confucian scholar most distingishly different from Confucius and Mencius in terms of his hypothesis that suggested human being, in its newly-born form, is against virtue, and have to be brought to its virtuous form through social-class-oriented Confucian morality educations, without such, Xunzi argued, man will act virtuelessly and be steered by his own human nature to commit immoral acts. Both life experience and education contributed on shaping Han Fei's philosophical point of view of an amoral and interest-driven human nature, in which his legalist theories founded upon. In his texts, Han Fei, unlike his teacher Xunzi, did not emphasize on morality, for which in his point of view morality is a loose and inefficient tool to educate a huge population. He however, agreed on his teacher's theory of "virtueless by birth", but instead of proposing an idealogical scheme of steering man by Confucian education to obtain morality, so as to minimize competition and war, he is more pragmatic in proposing practical methods of steering man by their own interest-driven human nature, to actively engage in competition and war if necessary if it is possible to get the better out of it, to the improvement of society, and the development of the state. His legalist philosophy is one that describes an interest-driven human nature together with the political methodologies to work with such human nature, in which practically his laws can be executed to steer the direction of manpower, his statecraft can be practices to manage human resources, as well as his authority can be exercised to maintain leadership, all for the interest of the state, and carried out by fishing the subjects of the state by positively feeding them with interests. The following are some examples of Han Fei's interest-oriented human nature:

(1) Between Parents and Children

"...despite the close relationship between parents and children, acts such as birth to a boy followed by celebration versus birth of a girl by her being killed. Both came from same parents, and resulted in dramatic differences from celebration to killing, is due to the considerations of future family development, as well as calculations of long term interest. Therefore, even parents to children uses interest as currency, other relationships can only be extrapolated downward..."

"...such as a child, parents did not treat him well, child grew up with complaints. As a grown up, his support towards his parents was meager, parents regreted with anger. Therefore, parents to children, the closest of all relationships, still resulted in complaints and anger, all due to one's interest not being fulfilled as they wish so..."

(2) Amorality - Something ought not to be weighted on the morality scale

"...chariot makers manufacture chariots, and thus wish more people making fortune; coffin makers craft coffins, and thus wish more people die. Not that chariot makers are good-hearted, since interests relates to people getting rich; nor are the coffin makers view people with hatred, since interests relates to people die. It all comes down to interests..."

"...doctors suck out poisonous blood from patient's wound, not that he is the patient's father, it is due to he receiving patient's medical fee..."

These seemingly cold-blooded descriptions are likely the day to day life stories normally observed and heard of during the late warring states period.

Pragmatism

The Importance of Strength

METHODOLOGY

Law

tatecraft

Authority

INFLUENCE

To Qin Dynasty

tatus Change in Han Dynasty

Contribution to Imperial Centralization

Translations

*Liao, W. K. (trans.): "The Complete Works Of Han Fei Tzŭ." 2 vol. London: Arthur Probsthain, vol. 1 1939, vol. 2 1959.

External links

* [http://chinese.dsturgeon.net/text.pl?node=1879&if=en Full text of Han Feizi]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Han Feizi — ▪ Chinese philosopher Introduction Wade Giles romanization  Han Fei tzu  (Chinese: “Master Han Fei”)  born c. 280, China died 233 BCE, China       the greatest of China s Legalist (Legalism) philosophers. His essays on autocratic government so… …   Universalium

  • Han Feizi — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar …   Wikipedia Español

  • Han Fei — (also Han Feizi) (zh cpw|c=|p=Hán Fēi|w=Han Fei) (ca. 280 ndash;233 BC) was a philosopher who, along with Li Si, developed Xun Zi s mutualism into the doctrine embodied by the School of Law or Legalism. Unlike the other famed philosophers of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Feizi — (非子) was a Zhou Dynasty Chinese royal horse trainer and breeder. King Xiao of Zhou gave him the surname of Ying (嬴) and rewarded him the Qin City (秦邑, in today Tianshui, Gansu), which later became State of Qin, whose rulers revered him as an… …   Wikipedia

  • Meritocracy — Sociology …   Wikipedia

  • List of Chinese inventions — A bronze Chinese crossbow mechanism with a buttplate (the wooden components have …   Wikipedia

  • Wu Zetian — This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wu. Wu Zetian Empress Regnant of the Zhou Dynasty Empress of Zhou Dynasty …   Wikipedia

  • china — /chuy neuh/, n. 1. a translucent ceramic material, biscuit fired at a high temperature, its glaze fired at a low temperature. 2. any porcelain ware. 3. plates, cups, saucers, etc., collectively. 4. figurines made of porcelain or ceramic material …   Universalium

  • China — /chuy neuh/, n. 1. People s Republic of, a country in E Asia. 1,221,591,778; 3,691,502 sq. mi. (9,560,990 sq. km). Cap.: Beijing. 2. Republic of. Also called Nationalist China. a republic consisting mainly of the island of Taiwan off the SE coast …   Universalium

  • Hundred Schools of Thought — The Hundred Schools of Thought (simplified Chinese: 诸子百家; traditional Chinese: 諸子百家; pinyin: zhūzǐ bǎijiā; Wade–Giles: chu tzu pai chia; literally all philosophers hundred schools ) were philosophers and schools that flourished from 770 to 221 BC …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.