China's Legalists: The Earliest Totalitarians and Their Art of Ruling

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M.E. Sharpe, 1996 - Philosophy - 177 pages
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This text discusses the Chinese Legalists, an ancient school of Chinese philosophy which flourished during the Period of the Hundred Contending Schools (6th-3rd century B.C.E.) The school perfected the science of government and art of statecraft to a level that would have greatly impressed Machiavelli. This period and its personalities, as well as a taste of the style and spirit of the Legalists' discourse, are made accessible to the student and general reader, placing into focus the roots of the great Chinese philosophy-as-statecraft tradition. The Legalists - most famously Li Kui, Shang Yang, Shen Buhai, Shen Dao, and Han Fei - had a great impact not only on the institutions and practices of Chinese imperial tradition but also on the Maoist totalitarianism of the People's Republic of China.
 

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Contents

The Legalist School
11
The Primacy of Power 3 5
35
Law as the Penal Tool of the Ruler
57
Statecraft
79
The Impact of the Legalists
107
The Congruence of Legalist Tenets
127
Conclusion
151
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