Does Han Fei have a conception of justice?

Asian Philosophy 28 (2):170-182 (2018)

Authors
Gordon B. Mower
Brigham Young University
Abstract
ABSTRACTHan Fei’s political theory is widely characterized as eschewing any connection with morality; so, can he have any conception of justice? In this paper, I accept the interpretation of Han Fei jettisoning any moral commitment, but I argue that he gives heed to an understanding of justice. This conception of justice arises naturally from the ordinary human sentiment of resentment for wrongs done and becomes a moral staple in the consciousness of ordinary people. Such a conception of justice has these features: all and only the guilty receive punishment, and the punishments are in some sense proportionate to the crime. Since disregarding this popular conception of justice results in resentment and political instability, Han Fei, without any moral commitment to it, accepts the popular conception of justice on prudential and consequentialist grounds.
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DOI 10.1080/09552367.2018.1458693
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The Theory of Moral Sentiments.Adam Smith - 1759 - Dover Publications.
Two Concepts of Rules.John Rawls - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (1):3-32.

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