Legalism - an essay on law, morals and politics

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The Nature of the Legalism and Its Significance

Log out of ReadCube. Law is the authoritative principle for the people and is the basis of government; it is what shapes the people. If the people be led by laws and controlled by punishments, they will try to evade them but have no sense of shame. If they be led by virtue and controlled by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame and will moreover attain character. Volume 3 , Issue 1.

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(PDF) Judith Shklar's Critique of Legalism | Paul Linden-Retek - samsumonsheman.gq

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View Preview. Learn more Check out. Confucius himself, while assuming exemplary kingly rule, imagines a politics that allows sufficient social freedom for individuals and ministers to exercise a kind of moral autonomy when deciding upon the right thing to do.

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Mencius is famous for assertively speaking truth to power. Classical Chinese Legalists, however, have little patience for obstreperous moralists and ministers. Rather, they focus on the necessity of concentrating power in the hands of the ruler. Shang Yang c.

Moral Aspects of Legal Theory Essays on Law Justice and Political Responsibility

People want wealth and status, and will avoid sacrifice for the public good in favor of personal benefits. Political unity, and a concomitant rejection of pluralism, is not simply a matter of corruption. This is a central precept of Han Feizi, the most prominent theorist of Legalism just prior to the Qin Dynasty.


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The threat of disorder and collapse were precisely the rationales used by Legalist theoreticians and administrators of the Warring States period to justify harsh autocratic rule. This, however, is not the tradition that Jiang Shigong explicitly invokes in his encomium to Xi.