Han Feizi's Thought and Republicanism

Abstract
Feizi’s philosophy is usually represented as an amoral autocracy where the ruler is the sole political power and runs the state by controlling the people through rewards and punishments. While his system is formally autocratic, this article argues that the purpose behind this system bears some similarity to the republican political ideal of non-domination. In this interpretation, Han Feizi makes the ruler the sole power to mitigate the danger of the state being dominated by ministers. He does not employ republican institutions, but attempts to discourage the ruler from using his power capriciously in order to increase order and security in the state, which are his ultimate political values. Han Feizi is not a republican, but this similarity suggests that when revised for today’s very different circumstances, Han Feizian philosophy’s focus on impartial law can make a contribution to contemporary Chinese political thought
Keywords Han Feizi  Republicanism  Political philosophy  Law
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