Press "Enter" to skip to content

When Was Legalism Developed

12 grudnia 2022 0

Performance and title refer to instructions and tasks. The Minister presents his statement; The sovereign assigns tasks to him according to his declaration and evaluates his merits exclusively according to the task. If merit coincides with the task and the task coincides with the declaration, [the Minister] is rewarded; If the merit does not match the task and the task does not match the statement, he will be punished. (Han Feizi 7:40–41) Legalism became the official philosophy of the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC) when China`s first emperor, Shi Huangdi (r. 221–210 BC), came to power and banished all other philosophies as corrupting influences. Confucianism has been particularly condemned for its insistence on the fundamental goodness of man and its teaching that people need only to be gently led to good in order to behave well. Most Chinese philosophers and political thinkers held negative views of legalism and associated it with totalitarianism. Many Chinese scholars believe that the backlash against legalism has led Chinese imperial policy to emphasize personal relationships and morality rather than the rule of law. Most Chinese historical documents were written by Confucian scholars persecuted among the Qin, and therefore may represent a biased view. Shen Buhai formalized the concept of shù (術, „methods”), a bureaucratic administrative model to assist the ruler and prevent mismanagement. In legalism, the intelligent minister was the ruler`s most important instrument of government.

The minister`s job was to understand and regulate certain issues; The leader was responsible for properly assessing the ministers` achievements. The ruler must master the technique of comparing words (ming) and performance (xing). Shang Yang (Chinese: 商鞅; c. Wei Yang; 衞鞅; 390 BC † 338 BC) was a Chinese jurist, philosopher and politician. Born in the Zhou vassal state of Wei during the Warring States period,[1] he was a statesman, chancellor, and reformer who served the Qin state, where his policies laid the administrative, political, and economic foundations that strengthened the Qin state and would ultimately enable Qin to conquer the other six rival states and unite China into centralized rule for the first time in history during the Qin Dynasty. Scholars consider it likely that he and his followers contributed to the Book of Lord Shang, a philosophical work fundamental to the school of Chinese legalism. [2] Legalism is sometimes compared to modern social sciences (Schwartz 1985), and this comparison captures some of its characteristics. Angus C. Graham (1989:269) notes that legalists were the first political philosophers in China „who assume not how society should be, but as it is.” In fact, it was the most practical of all pre-imperial intellectual currents.

Their stated goal was to create a „rich state and a powerful army” (fu guo qiang bing 富國強兵)[2] which would be the prerequisite for the future unification of the entire subcelestial empire. Thinkers focused on how to achieve this goal rather than philosophical speculation. Therefore, their writings are generally exempt from overriding moral considerations or conformity to the divine will – topoi used in the writings of the disciples of Confucius 孔子 (551-479 BC) and Mozi 墨子 (ca. 460-390 BC) return. Cosmological determinations of the political order, which became extremely popular after the Laozi 老子 (fourth century BC). A.D.), are of somewhat greater importance to legalists than morality or religion: they are mentioned in some fragments of Shen Buhai and Shen Dao and especially in several chapters of Han Feizi. However, these speculations are not essential to the reasoning of these thinkers: therefore, Pace attempts to consider Han Fei`s cosmological digressions as the foundations of his political philosophy (Wang and Chang 1986), it would be more accurate to see them as argumentative means that have not been „fully assimilated” into Han Fei`s thought (Graham 1991: 285; cf. Goldin 2013: 14-18). [3] In general, legalistic thinkers exhibit considerable philosophical sophistication only when they have to justify their deviations from conventional approaches of other intellectual currents. In this regard, their views on historical development and human nature are very engaging.

When the Son of heaven is ordained, he should not make the regional lords doubt [of his position]; If a gentleman is appointed, he must not make the nobles doubt [of his position]; Doubt brings turmoil; Duplication [of sources of authority] brings conflict, mixing brings mutual harm; Evil comes from sharing, not singularity (Shenzi, 47-48; Harris, 2016: 118). Early Zhou kings kept a firm personal hand over the government, based on their personal abilities, personal relations between the ruler and minister, and military power. Since the technique of centralized government was so undeveloped, they transferred authority to feudal lords. When the Zhou kings could no longer grant new fiefdoms, their power began to decline, vassals began to identify with their own regions,[55] and schismatic hostilities broke out between the Chinese states.[54] Aristocratic families became very important because their ancestral prestige wielded great power and proved to be a divisive force. Guided by legalistic thinking, the first Qin emperor weakened the power of the feudal lords, divided the unified empire into thirty-six administrative provinces, and standardized the weights and measures and the writing system.[54] The Qin soldiers, reflecting the legalistic passion for order and structure, were only mobilized when the two tiger-shaped counting halves (one by the leader and the other by the commanding general) were brought together. All documents of the empire had to include a record of the year in which they were written, the scribe who copied them, and the exact delivery time. The first Qin emperor ensured that no individual in the state was above the law by imposing severe penalties for all cases of dissent. Double taxation was imposed on households with more than one son, forcing clans and large family groups to split into smaller households. When world affairs change, you have to take a different path. That is why it is said: „If the people are ignorant, one can become monarch by knowledge; if the generation is taught, one can become a monarch by force” (Shang jun shu 7:53; Book of Lord Shang 7:1-7:2). What the world calls a „worthy” is that which is defined as right; But those who define him as good and sincere are his clique (dang 黨). When you hear his words, you think he is capable; If you ask his supporters, they agree.

Therefore, one is ennobled before having merits; You are punished before you commit a crime. (Shang jun shu 25:136–137; Book Lord Shang 25:1) For more than 200 years, the Chinese people have experienced war as their daily reality, and a legalistic approach to trying to control people`s worst impulses – controlling people by threatening harsh punishments for the wrong thing – seemed to be the best way to deal with chaos. Shang Yang`s legalism dealt with everyday situations, but also extended to how to behave in wartime, and he is credited with the tactic of total war, which allowed the Qin state to defeat other warring states in order to control China. Wherever name (reputation) and utility meet, people will go in that direction. Agriculture is what people consider bitter; War is what people consider dangerous. But they defy what they think is bitter and do what they consider dangerous based on the calculation [of a name and an advantage]. When benefits come from the land, people exhaust their strength; if the name comes from war, people are willing to die (Shang jun shu 6:45–46; Book of Lord Shang 6:4-6:5). Thinkers of different ideological tendencies shared the sober realization that a sovereign can be mediocrity; But for them, this problem was easy to solve. To the extent that the ruler was wise enough to entrust day-to-day affairs to a meritorious assistant, he could continue to enjoy absolute prestige, while practical matters were decided by worthy ministers (see, for example, Xunzi 11:223–224; Hutton, 2014: 112–113). For Han Fei, however, this solution is unacceptable. Again and again, he warns the sovereign that no one can be trusted: the sovereign`s wife, his beloved concubine, his eldest son and heir – all hope for his untimely death, as this could secure their position. Threats also come from the sovereign`s brothers and cousins, uncles and bedfellows, dwarves and clowns who entertain him, dancers of his court; And, of course, talkative „men” (shi) who conspire with foreign powers to endanger his state.

Every person around the throne should be suspected; And minimal negligence can cost a leader life and power. And the most dangerous enemies are precisely those whom other thinkers considered friends and teachers of the leader, namely his closest collaborators, his ministers. Han Fei compares them to hungry tigers that are ready to devour the ruler whenever the opportunity arises: Xún Zǐ or Hsün Tzu (荀子; b.

Comments are closed.