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Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy By Masayuki Sato Lecture Twelve The Psychology of Politics and.

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1 Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy By Masayuki Sato Lecture Twelve The Psychology of Politics and a Search for Power: The Book of Hanfeizi 【本著作除另有註明外,採取創用 CC 「姓名標示-非商業性-相同方式分享」 台灣 2.5 版授權釋出】 The “Work” under the Creative Commons Taiwan 2.5 License of “BY-NC-SA”.

2 The Outline of Presentation  (1) Introduction: Question on a prevailed image of  Han Fei’s thought  (2) On Life and Book  (3) The Background of Han Fei’s thought:  (a) Han Fei’s understanding of human beings  (b) Inconsistency between the profit of  ruler and his subordinates  cf. Jixia’s influence on Han Fei’s conception of  Human Nature  (c) The new way of rule for (degenerated)  Present ime

3 The Outline of Presentation (2)  (4) Main Argument of Han Fei’s political philosophy  (a) “Human nature cannot be changed”  (b) The method for Mediocre Rulers  (c) The Situation: If a sovereignty lacks its authority?  (d)How should a ruler run his state?  (5) Three predicament of Han Fei’s political philosophy  (a) Immoral methods for moral purpose  (b) Can a mediocre ruler really implement Han Fei’s  theory?  (c) Imaginary combination of “dehumanized ruler”  and “morally motivated prime minister”

4 Question on a prevailed image of Han Fei’s thought  Han Fei (ca. 280–233 BC) was a Chinese philosopher who, along with Li Si, developed Xun Zi’s mutualism into the doctrine embodied by the School of Law or Legalism.  Quoted by Wikipedia   韓非子肖像 北京歴史博物館蔵

5 Question on a prevailed image of Han Fei’s thought  Han Fei (ca. 280–233 BC) was a Chinese philosopher who, along with Li Si, developed Xun Zi’s mutualism into the doctrine embodied by the School of Law or Legalism.  Quoted by Wikipedia   韓非子肖像 北京歴史博物館蔵

6 Description on Han Fei’s Life by Sima Qian (Chap. 63 of the Historical Records)  Han Fei was born as a member of royal family of the state of Han, the weakest country among those of that time.  He served Xunzi, together with Li Si, who later became prime minister of Qin.  King Zheng of Qin (later the First Emperor after the unification) read some essays by Han Fei, and said “I will have no more regrets in this life, if I can but meet the author of these essays!”

7 Description on Han Fei’s Life by Sima Qian (Chap. 63 of the Historical Records)  Although King Zheng successfully invited Han Fei to his court, he could not believe in his loyalty to the state of Qin. Thus, he put him in jail. Li Si sent him poison to suggest him to commit suicide. Han Fei tried to meet the King but in vain. He could do nothing but choose to take the poison rather than being executed.  King Zheng regretted his judgment so that he cancelled of Han Fei’s execution, but too late.

8 Suma Qian’s plot for Han Fei’s tragedic death  Han Fei was considered to be a master of persuasion, yet he could not save his own life.  Sima Qian, the author of the Historical Records was also mutilated by his lord, the Emperor Wu of Han, due to his failure of persuasion.  Li Si was a disciple of Xunzi, and later became the prime minister of the State of Qin.

9 Another story on Han Fei’s death recorded in the Zhanguo ce 戰國策  On the other hand, according to the Zhanguo ce 戰國策, the Collection of Debates by Persuaders, there was also a story that Han Fei was executed because Han Fei lost a serious debate against Yao Jia 姚賈, a mighty officer at the Qin court.  Here, unlike Sima Qian’s account, Li Si did not involved himself with Han Fei’s death.

10 Li Si and Yao Jia were both mighty figures at the Qin court But Han Fei could not persuade the King Zheng of Qin and then was executed Han Fei was master of persuasion. (He is the author of “Difficulty in Perusasion” The formation a “story” of “Li Si was a student of Xunzi”

11 Han Fei was a master of persuasion Han Fei’s skill for persuasion could not save his life Li Si and Li Si and Yao Jia slandered Han Fei because…. felt jealous Li Si felt jealous against Han Fei’s talent when Li Si severed Xunzi with Han Fei. Sima Qian’s inference from Han Fei’s death to the point that Han Fei could have been Xunzi’s student.

12 Why Did Sima Qian wrote “Han Fei served Xunzi”?  Sima Qian’s accounts are often too dramatic to be taken as historical fact because of his tendency to describe clichéd confrontations between two historical figures which inevitably result in one figure’s tragic death. In this case, Li Si is supposed to have caused Han Fei’s death because he had been jealous and fearful of Han Fei’s talent ever since their apprenticeship under Xunzi. At the same time, Sima Qian also sought to add a tragic dimension to the life of Han Fei, as death was often unavoidable for prominent statesman and intellectuals—even for a master of argumentation and persuasion.

13 Why Did Sima Qian wrote “Han Fei served Xunzi”?  Sima Qian may not have had any verifiable records confirming that Han Fei was Xunzi’s student. With such limited information, (1) It was clear that Li Si was Xunzi’s student; (2) There were narratives or anecdotes of some sort which held Li Si responsible for Han Fei’s death; (3) The Xunzi included “Human Nature Is Bad” (“Xing’e”), which seemed similar to Han Fei’s understanding of human beings. This inspired Sima Qian to link Han Fei with Li Si more substantially, so that it would seem as if Han Fei and Li Si were destined to become formidable opponents.

14 The Book of Hanfeizi 韓非子  The Book of Hanfeizi consists of 55 chapters  His philosophy is best presented in  The Gufen 孤憤 (chap. 11: “solitary anger”)  The Shuinan 說難 (chap. 12: “difficulty in persuasion”)  The Wudu 五蠧 (chap. 49: “Five vermins”)  The Xianxue 顯學 (chap. 50: “Eminent schools”)  It includes the oldest commentary on the Laozi (chaps. 20 and 21)  It also contains a large number of incisive anecdotes an fables.

15 Han Fei’s understanding of Human beings  Parents celebrate if a boy is born, while they often kill if a girl is born. (Liufan)  The silkworm is a kind of worm, but women do not care about picking it up, because it can produce profits. (Shuolin xia)  Wife, concubines and children often want the death of their lord (i.e., husband and father). (Beinei)  The reason why people are willing to commit themselves to dangerous work is solely for gaining reward. (Shoudao)

16 Inconsistency between the profit of ruler and his subordinates  The Yellow Emperor said: “Between the lords and ministers, there happen battles one hundred times a day!” (Yangque)  The origin of political chaos: If a ruler understand that the profit between the lord and his minister is inconsistent, then he would be qualified to rule a country. If he consider it to be consistent, he would be threatened. If he share his work with his ministers, he will become the victim of regicide. (Bajing)

17 Jixia’s influence on Han Fei’s conception of Human Nature  Master Tian said: “All people work for themselves, and not for others. Thus, if a ruler hires people to serve him, he uses them by causing them to pursue their own interests, and does not use them by causing them to (directly) serve his interests. A Jixia scholar commented on this statement and said: “What great words Master Tian left us! In ancient times, when a [sage] ruler hired his subjects, he did not ask them to have personal affection for him, but only to do their best to meet their loyalty to themselves. Those who had taken office in this way were competent without fail, and those who were sent to the battlefield in this way were brave without fail.

18 Jixia’s influence on Han Fei’s conception of Human Nature  This is exactly why the allocation of emoluments and rewards, and the equal and fair designation of names (i.e., work positions and social status), must not be determined by the ruler’s subjective mind or [consideration of] the ruler’s personal profit. Tradition says: “Do not make plan for rebellion with those who have worked for you with low salary. Do not order anyone to fulfill any dangerous mission if the rewards is trivial.” This is the point that a ruler should exercise prudence.

19 The new way of rule for (degenerated) present time  When men of ancient times made light of material goods, it was not because they were benevolent, but because there was a surplus of goods; and when men quarrel and snatch today, today, it is not because they are vicious, but because goods have grown scarce. (Wudu)  Men of high antiquity strove for moral virtue; men of middle times sought out wise schemes; men of today vie to be known for strength and spirit. (Wudu)

20 Human nature cannot be changed  Now supposing someone addressed a person, saying, “I will make you to be wise and to live long,” the world would certainly think he was practicing deceptions. Indeed, wisdom is a matter of nature, longevity is a matter of fate. As nature and fate are not what one can learn from others, to assert to a person what men not really do, that is what the world calls deception. To call anybody what he cannot really be, is flattery is a matter of nature, indeed. To instruct men in benevolence and righteousness is the same as to make assertions in the matters of intelligence and longevity, which the sovereign with a legal standard does not heed.

21 Human nature cannot be changed  For illustration, admiring the beauty of M AO Qiang and X I Shi gains one’s facial looks nothing; but applying rouge, pomade, powder, and eyebrow-paint, makes one’s appearance twice as good as before. Similarly, speaking about the benevolence and righteousness of the early kings gains nothing for political order; but understanding clearly our laws and measures and determining our rewards and punishments is the rouge, pomade, powder, and eyebrow-paint of the state. (Xianxue, trans. By Liao, 1959)

22 For the method for mediocre rulers  In his defense of the necessity of political authority, Han Fei argues:  Sage rulers Yao and Shun, as well as tyrant Jie and Zhou were very special and rare. Such rulers could appear once less than a thousand years. The reason that I insist on the importance of authority is because it would be helpful for the rule by mediocre rulers who occupies most of the cases in history. (Nanshi)

23 The Prevalent Power of authority  Duke Ai of Lu was a medicre rule, yet when he ascended the throne and faced south as sovereign of the state, there was no one within its boundaries who did not acknowledge allegiance to him. The people will bow naturally to authority. And he who wields authority may easily command men to submit; therefore Confucius remained a subject and Duke Ai continued to be his ruler. It was not that Confucius was won by the duke’s righteousness; he simply bowed before his authority. (Wudu)

24 The Situation: If a sovereignty lacks its authority?  A Flying Dragon rides on the clouds, and a soaring serpent strolls through the mists [both are auspicious symbols of the ruler]. When the clouds disperse and mists clear away, the dragon and the serpent are then no different from mere earthworm or ants, for they have lost that on which they were conveyed. When the worthy men are subject to the unworthy, it is because their authority is slight and their status is low. (Nanshi, trans. By Hsiao) National Taiwan University Masayuki Sato

25 The Situation: If a sovereignty lacks its authority?  Without the method of reward and punishment based upon the law and authority of the ruler, even the most virtuous person such as Yao and Shun cannot rule the people of only three houses, even though they fully commit themselves in persuading their peoples one by one. (Nanshi)

26 How should a ruler run his state?  To prevent “turnover” of sovereignty  (not equal to the “concentration of power”)  To regulate ALL people to engage in agriculture or military service  Strict implementation of rewards and punishment  Establishment of assesment system for bureaucratic duties.

27 Han Fei’s role in the development of Chinese Political Philosophy  Han Fei (ca. 280–233 BC) was a Chinese philosopher who, along with Li Si, developed Xun Zi’s mutualism into the doctrine embodied by the School of Law or Legalism.

28 Han Fei’s role in the development of Chinese Political Philosophy  Han Fei (ca. 280–233 BC) was a Chinese philosopher who, based upon Shang Yang’s doctrine of strict implementation of law, synthesized Jixia’s theories of human nature and political authority, and Shen Puhai’s theory of technique for controlling bureaucracy, into a comprehensive or a quasi-scientific political theory which could be expected to function for establishing socio-political order most of the time.

29 Han Fei’s role in the development of Chinese Political Philosophy  Han Fei ( ca. 280–233 BC ) was a Chinese philosopher who, based upon Shang Yang’s doctrine of strict implementation of law, synthesized Jixia’s theories of human nature and political authority, and Shen Puhai’s theory of technique for controlling bureaucracy, into a comprehensive or a quasi- scientific political theory which could be expected to function for establishing socio- political order most of the time.

30 Implications: Han Fei and Qin State  The King Zheng (later, becoming the First Emperor) idealized Han Fei’s philosophy, but he killed that person.  Han Fei did not appreciate the rule of Qin, while Qin rulers highly evaluated the validity of Han Fei’s theory.  Theoretically speaking, Han Fei foresaw the rapid disintegration of the Qin regime.  Historically, Han Fei’s theory functioned most well when it was mixed with some element Confucian theory.

31 Three predicament of Han Fei’s political philosophy  (1) Immoral methods for moral purpose  Han Fei: “I have not escaping from facing danger of [assasination and execution] to endeavour to realize my theory because it is the way to bring the welfare and charity to my people.” (Wentian)  Are all human beings ruled by the motivation for profit?  Cf. How are “sages” and “man of law and method”?

32 Three predicament of Han Fei’s political philosophy  (2) Can a mediocre ruler really implement  Han Fei’s theory?  It is the ruler who can most easily violate any good principles for ruling.  How can such a ruler decide whether a person deserves to be what Han Fei categorizes “man of law and method” or evil minister?

33 Three predicament of Han Fei’s political philosophy  (3) Imaginary combination of “dehumanized ruler” and “morally motivated prime minister”  If a person really deserves to be “the man of law and method,” how can he persuade his lord into believing that he is so?  Historically, most of “sage ministers” have been executed by their lord at the end.  Cf. Ironically, the combination of the First Emperor and his prime minister Li Si was closest to this image.

34 Wiki Chensiyuan

35 Questions for further discussion  (1) Try to compare Han Fei’s argument with that of Machiavelli, e.g., advantages and disadvantages of each theory.  (2) Do you think that Han Fei’s understanding of human beings is congenial to that of Xunzi ?  (3) Do you think that Han Fei was a realist aspect or an idealist ?

36 Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy Thank you very much ! Lecture Twelve The Psychology of Politics and a Search for Power: The Book of Hanfeizi

37 Work Licensing Author/ Source 复旦大学 2006 年度申请国家精品课程, in public domain under section 30 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 頁 21 Liao, Wen-k’uei (Liao, Wenkui) 廖文奎 The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzǔ: A Classic of Chinese Legalism (two vols.). London: Arthur Probsthain. 頁 24 National Taiwan University Masayuki Sato Wiki User Dencey 2011/08/22 visited Wiki User Miuki visited Wiki Chensiyuan 2011/10/11 visited Copyright Declaration


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