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Profile: Eirik Lang Harris (City University of Hong Kong)
  1. Eirik Lang Harris (forthcoming). Cline, Erin M., Confucius, Rawls and the Sense of Justice. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy:1-4.
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  2. Eirik Lang Harris (2014). Legalism: Introducing a Concept and Analyzing Aspects of Han Fei's Political Philosophy. Philosophy Compass 9 (3):155-164.
    ‘Legalism’ is a term that has long been used to categorize a group of early Chinese philosophers including, but not limited to, Han Fei (Han Feizi), Shen Dao, Shen Buhai, and Shang Yang. However, the usefulness of this term has been contested for nearly as long. This essay has the goal of introducing the idea of ‘Legalism’ and laying out aspects of the political thought of Han Fei, the most prominent of these thinkers. In this essay, I first lay out (...)
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  3. Eirik Lang Harris (2013). Constraining the Ruler: On Escaping Han Fei's Criticism of Confucian Virtue Politics. Asian Philosophy 23 (1):43-61.
    One of Han Fei’s most trenchant criticisms against the early Confucian political tradition is that, insofar as its decision-making process revolves around the ruler, rather than a codified set of laws, this process is the arbitrary rule of a single individual. Han Fei argues that there will be disastrous results due to ad hoc decision-making, relationship-based decision-making, and decision-making based on prior moral commitments. I lay out Han Fei’s arguments while demonstrating how Xunzi can successfully counter them. In doing so, (...)
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  4. Eirik Lang Harris (2013). Han Fei on the Problem of Morality. In Paul R. Goldin (ed.), Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Han Fei. Springer.
    In much of pre-Qin political philosophy, including those thinkers usually labeled Confucian, Daoist, or Mohist, at least part of the justification of the political state comes from their views on morality, and the vision of the good ruler was quite closely tied to the vision of the good person. In an important sense, for these thinkers, political philosophy is an exercise in applied ethics. Han Fei, however, offers an interesting break from this tradition, arguing that, given the vastly different goals (...)
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  5. Eirik Lang Harris (2013). The Role of Virtue in Xunzi's 荀子 Political Philosophy. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 12 (1):93-110.
    Although there has been a resurgence of interest in virtue ethics, there has been little work done on how this translates into the political sphere. This essay demonstrates that the Confucian thinker Xunzi offers a model of virtue politics that is both interesting in its own right and potentially useful for scholars attempting to develop virtue ethics into virtue politics more generally. I present Xunzi’s version of virtue politics and discuss challenges to this version of virtue politics that are raised (...)
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  6. Eirik Lang Harris (2011). Is the Law in the Way? On the Source of Han Fei's Laws. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 38 (1):73-87.
    In this paper, I analyze the ‘Da ti’ chapter of the Han Feizi 韓非子. This chapter is often read as one of the so-called Daoist Chapters of text. However, a deeper study of this chapter allows us to see that, while Daoist terminology is employed, it is done so in a way that is certainly not reminiscent of either the Zhuangzi 莊子 or the Laozi 老子. Neither, though, does it have quite the flavor of other chapters in the Han Feizi (...)
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  7. Eirik Lang Harris (2010). The Nature of the Virtues in Light of the Early Confucian Tradition". In Julia Tao, Philip J. Ivanhoe & Kam-por Yu (eds.), Taking Confucian Ethics Seriously: Contemporary Theories and Applications. Suny Press.
    In this paper, I take a prominent and plausible conception of virtues from the Western tradition, apply it to some early Confucian texts, and see where it succeeds and fails. In this way, I hope to be able to show how this conception of virtues needs to be revised. The particular conception of virtues I am starting with is one of virtues as correctives that was made prominent by Philippa Foot in her paper “Virtues and Vices.” On Foot’s account, “the (...)
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