The Book of Lord Shang

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The Book of Lord Shang (Shang1 chün1 shu1, Shāngjūnshū,[1] or colloquially Shāngzi; 商君書[2]) was an early Legalist work generally[3] attributed to the eponymous Lord Shang. It is a foundational[4] work of that harsh tradition: ""The Book of Lord Shang teaches that laws are designed to maintain the stability of the state from the people, who are innately selfish and ignorant. There is no such thing as objective goodness or virtue; it is obedience that is of paramount importance."[5] The philosophy espoused in this work is quite explicitly anti-Confucian:

Sophistry and cleverness are an aid to lawlessness; rites and music are symptoms of dissipations and licence; kindness and benevolence are the foster‑mother of transgressions; employment and promotion are opportunities for the rapacity of the wicked. If lawlessness is aided, it becomes current; if there are symptoms of dissipation and licence, they will become the practice; if there is a foster‑mother for transgressions, they will arise; if there are opportunities for the rapacity of the wicked, they will never cease. If these eight things come together, the people will be stronger than the government; but if these eight things are non‑existent in a state, the government will be stronger than the people. If the people are stronger than the government, the state is weak; if the government is stronger than the people, the army is strong. For if these eight things exist, the ruler has no one to use for defence and war, with the result that the state will be dismembered and will come to ruin; but if there are not these eight things, the ruler has the wherewithal for defence and war, with the result that the state will flourish and attain supremacy.

—Chapter 2, Paragraph 5 of The Book of Lord Shang, pg 109 of J.J.-L. Duyvendak, 1928

Contents[edit]

  1. The Reform of the Law
  2. An Order to cultivate Waste Lands
  3. Agriculture and War
  4. The Elimination of Strength
  5. Discussion about the People
  6. The Calculation of Land
  7. Opening and Debarring
  8. The Unification of Words
  9. Establishing Laws
  10. The Method of Warfare
  11. The Establishment of Fundamentals
  12. Military Defense
  13. Making Orders Strict
  14. The Cultivation of Right Standard
  15. The Encouragement of Immigration
  16. Compendium of Penalties (missing)
  17. Rewards and Punishment
  18. Policies Planning
  19. Within the Borders
  20. Weakening the People
  21. (missing)
  22. External and Internal Affairs
  23. Rulers and Ministers
  24. Interdicts and Encouragements
  25. Attention to Law
  26. The Fixing of Rights and Duties

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chinese Literature: Shangjunshu 商君書 "The Book of Lord Shang"
  2. ^ http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/China/lordshangTradwebplan.htm
  3. ^ " The work Shang Chün shu (“Book of the Lord of Shang”) probably contains writings and ideas of Shang Yang, although the exact authorship of the book is in doubt.""Shang Yang." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 19 Sept. 2006 [1].
    See also "Other figures associated with an early form of legalism are Shang Yang (d. 338 BCE), the putative author of The Book of Lord Shang, and Shen Pu-hai (d. 337 BCE)."[2]
  4. ^ "It is one of the major works of the highly pragmatic and authoritarian Legalist school of Chinese philosophy." "Shang Yang." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 19 Sept. 2006 [3].
  5. ^ [4]

External links[edit]

Text of the work[edit]

Articles and essays[edit]