Han Feizi’s Thought and Republicanism

Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 10 (2):167-185 (2011)
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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



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References found in this work

Republicanism: a theory of freedom and government.Philip Pettit (ed.) - 1997 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The world of thought in ancient China.Benjamin Isadore Schwartz - 1985 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Liberty before Liberalism.Quentin Skinner - 2001 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 63 (1):172-175.
Democracy and meritocracy: Toward a confucian perspective.Joseph Chan - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (2):179–193.

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