Journal of Chinese Philosophy 38 (1):73-87 (2011)

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Abstract
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 where scholars have often read Han Fei s advocating a system of government based on laws promulgated by the ruler, the content of which is left solely to the ruler’s discretion. Throughout this paper, I hope to demonstrate that a reading of the ‘Da ti’ chapter allows us to understand that Han Fei is not simply advocating a system of government based on laws promulgated by the ruler, the content of which is left solely to the ruler’s discretion. This chapter can help us begin to understand that Han Fei has a much more nuanced system and that he advocates law that accords with the overarching pattern of the universe. In doing this, I will show that the idea of fa 法 (standard, law) that we see utilized by Han Fei, both in these chapters do not fall neatly into Western conceptions of law, and thus previous scholars who have worked based on these conceptions have missed important aspects of Han Fei’s thought. I also attempt to demonstrate that this interpretation of law is consistent with the way that it is used in the rest of the Han Feizi.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1540-6253.2010.01631.x
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