Legalism in china essay

legalism origin

These belief systems all represent a different path of the geographic spreads any belief system could take, despite having originated in the same areas.

Legalists viewed people as selfish and untrustworthy.

Legalism holy book

Philosophical Foundations Legalism is at times compared with modern social sciences Schwartz , and this comparison grasps well some of its characteristics. Those that argued that laws and procedures were important to keep power for a leader were known as legalist. However, each was different and thus had different results Ancient Chinese Civilization words - 5 pages philosophies. Yates, Han Feizi 5: 27 This is a curious recommendation: the ruler should completely nullify himself both in order to preserve his authority against scheming ministers, and to acquire—unjustly! It is because by the sheer fact of his exclusive authority, the ruler is able to arbitrate conflicts among his ministers and to preserve the chain of command in his state, without which the state may collapse. Confucius urged to lead the people with virtue and rituals as opposed to government policies and punishments. Legalism was based on the premise that there was no tool of governing human behaviors better that law. He believed that the ruler should gain respect through his deeds rather than achieving it through his status and authority.

The best way for the people of China to succeed in a harmonious, respectable society occurred when both Confucianism and Legalism were combined. For the sake of self-preservation he must abolish his personality, being completely submerged by the system which he ostensibly runs.

MarkShi Huangti "ordered the destruction of any history or philosophy books which did not correspond to Legalism, his family line, the state of Qin, or himself" and had over Confucian scholars executed.

Legalism facts

Now, this age of primeval morality has gone forever. It seems that the text assaults not morality as such but rather moralizing discourse. Translated and edited by Yuri Pines. Allyn, trans. However, violations of the basic human rights are still being denied to refugees in every region of the world. If radical restructuring of society was legitimate in the past, so it is in the present. The Qin Dynasty was the first of the three and was Legalist. Legalist thinkers were at the forefront of administrative and sociopolitical innovation; they were the most ready to dispense with bygone norms and paradigms; and they were more pragmatic and result-oriented than most of their ideological rivals. Goldin, Paul R. Han Fei remains doubtful about these: after all, why should valiant soldiers who gained ranks of merit become good officials? However, an increased power in return leverages the instability within the people foundation of the society. If the state is ruled according to these ten, then if the enemy arrives it will surely be dismembered, and if the enemy does not arrive, the state will surely be impoverished. The overall goal of each philosophy was to set a standard of acceptable living that would ensure harmony and success for the society. For this reason, many people understandably combined more than one of the three philosophies in an attempt to even out their lifestyle.

Those that followed legalism argued that instead of following Confucius ideals of putting the people before the leader, the leader must establish strong laws and procedures.

Kern eds. Since the early 20th century this term has come to be widely used for classification and analysis of early Chinese thought. For Legalists, in contrast, this very idea proved that the pro-ministerial discourse of their rivals was usurpation in disguise.

Legalism symbol

Therefore, when they hear about war, the people congratulate each other; whenever they move or rest, drink or eat, they sing and chant only about war. For the vast majority of the literati, Shang Yang, Han Fei, and their like were negative examples; hence, most of the texts associated with the Legalist school ceased circulating, and only a very few merited commentaries. This sentiment recurs in Han Feizi, a text that expresses with utmost clarity its belief that every member of the elite—like any member of society—pursues his own interests cf. What matters is the bottom line: radical reforms were inevitable in the past; and they are inevitable in the present. Despite their pronounced belief in monarchic form of rule, most thinkers of the Warring States period insisted that the monarch would never succeed without a worthy aide. Eventually, harsh punishments will eliminate the very need for punishments: To prevent wrongdoing and stop transgressions, nothing is better than making punishments heavy. Those that followed legalism argued that instead of following Confucius ideals of putting the people before the leader, the leader must establish strong laws and procedures. Daoism was thought to be founded by a man named Laozi that lived around B. References Brugger, B. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Yet they brave what they consider bitter and perform what they consider dangerous because of the calculation [of a name and benefit]. Even to the day, their influence can be espied in the many matters of China. Each party had their own proposals for creating an idealistic political society where the many problems they faced in their everyday lives could be eliminated. Wang, Hsiao-po and Leo S.

The teachings, however, differed greatly then that of Confucianism. Confucius urged to lead the people with virtue and rituals as opposed to government policies and punishments.

Legalism vs confucianism

For Legalists, in contrast, this very idea proved that the pro-ministerial discourse of their rivals was usurpation in disguise. Anyone that was a practitioner of these three philosophies would have had no idea how the Roman Republic or Empire worked in those regards. What mattered to Li Si—as to Han Fei—was not doctrinal unity as such, but the imposition of the state control over intellectual life, as in all other spheres of social activity. The Qin paper words - 5 pages In ancient China, many different rulers tried to unify and rule the country using a variety of methods — Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism to name a few. First, Legalists were not a self-aware and organized intellectual current; rather the name was coined as a post-factum categorization of certain thinkers and texts, and its primary function before the twentieth century was that of a bibliographical category in imperial libraries. In the process of transmission, the book lost at least five chapters; a few others had been badly damaged, becoming barely legible. The Chinese term fa jia is already misleading, because it inadvertently reduces the rich intellectual content of this current to a single keyword, fa. While the goal of legalism is a good one, the militant measures used to enforce it were not well accepted by the people who were considered anti-social and of need of extreme government leadership. The Qin Dynasty became powerful but was short-lived mainly because of its cruel punishment and laws. Self-identification as a follower of Shang Yang or Han Fei became a rarity, if not an impossibility. On the one hand, its ideas remained highly influential, especially in the realm of administrative practice, but also with regard to the policies of the enrichment and empowerment of the state, as well as in some legal practices. Economically, the introduction of iron utensils Wagner revolutionized agriculture, allowing higher yields, prompting the development of wastelands, and bringing about demographic growth, as well as accelerating urbanization and commercialization of the economy. Philosophical Foundations Legalism is at times compared with modern social sciences Schwartz , and this comparison grasps well some of its characteristics. Confucianism is a great philosophy to live by. Legalist thinkers were at the forefront of administrative and sociopolitical innovation; they were the most ready to dispense with bygone norms and paradigms; and they were more pragmatic and result-oriented than most of their ideological rivals.
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Legalism in China Essay