Reflections on the Concept of “Law” of Shang Yang from the Perspective of Political Philosophy: Function, Value, and Spirit of the “Rule of Law”

Contemporary Chinese Thought 47 (2):125-137 (2016)
Abstract
EDITOR’S ABSTRACTThis article argues that Shang Yang’s philosophy of law was not only a means to enrich the state and strengthen its army, but also envisioned the orderly rule of all All-under-Heaven. Through a fair, universal, and reliable use of rewards, punishments, and also teaching, this vision of laws could ultimately lead to the promotion of moral values, popular consensus, and people’s self-governance. While the authors admit that in Shang Yang’s own historical context, law was no more than a tool used by the ruler to suppress his people, potentially his ideas could contribute to a future Chinese society fully ruled by law and morality, and inspired by the rule of law.
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DOI 10.1080/10971467.2016.1227133
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