In this essay I revise, based on the notion of the ‘enlightened ruler’ or mingzhu and his critique of the literati of his time, the common belief that Han Fei was an amoralist and an advocate of tyranny. Instead, I will argue that his writings are dedicated to advising those who ought to rule in order to achieve the goal of a peaceful and stable society framed by laws in accordance with the dao.
Jon Stewart, a cynic? Perhaps not, according to some die-hard fans. But it's not difficult to imagine that for many viewers of The Daily Show, even those who enjoy watching the host “speak truth to power,” Stewart is no more than a neatly dressed cynic. The cynics lived in the heart of ancient democracies, confronting accepted habits, unchallenged assumptions, and above all institutional corruption. Their aim wasn't just to avoid what they considered to be harmful pursuits and practices, but to (...) expose and ridicule those traditions that most people unreflectively considered moral and proper. If this chapter looks at Stewart in the context of this “dog philosophy,” it sheds light on the meaning of his role in contemporary culture. (shrink)
It is commonly accepted that Han Fei studied under Xunzi sometime during the late third century BCE. However, there is surprisingly little dedicated to the in-depth study of the relationship between Xunzi’s ideas and one of his best-known followers. In this essay I argue that Han Fei’s notion of xing, commonly translated as human nature, was not only influenced by Xunzi but also that it is an important feature of his political philosophy.
This essay explains the role of history and ethical life (Sittlichkeit) in the first section of the chapter entitled Spirit in the Phenomenology of Spirit, in which Hegel interprets the meaning of Sophocles' Antigone as the best expression of the ancient Greeks ethical life in its preliminary and most immediate state. It is argued, first, that Hegels understanding of the ethical life was developed as an alternative, based on history, to Kants notion of morals (Sitten) and, second, that Hegel considered (...) the ancient Greek mode of living limited by its immediacy and, therefore, never hoped to revive it during his own time. (shrink)