Talk:Legalism (Chinese philosophy)

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Editor[edit]

Let me know if you can offer criticism of the page... it's rare that it gets much attention at this point other than from myself.FourLights (talk) 01:33, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

Missing references[edit]

The bibliography does not cover all the references in this article. For example, there are Goldin (2005) and Goldin (2011), and these are nowhere explained. That's confusing--and I'm Goldin!--98.114.178.63 (talk) 13:09, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

If you could tell me the names, or link to the works from those dates, I could look into them. Thank you.FourLights (talk) 07:42, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Legalism[edit]

I would like to increase understanding of Legalism. While I would assert that the writers of both Spring and Autumn and Warring States are of the same trend, and should be classed together under the same school, Realism, what is generally thought of as Legalism proper emerged during the Warring States Period under Shang Yang. Other Warring States reformers and earlier Spring and Autumn writers are similar in their outlook and proto-legalist method, but their lack of law itself must be noted, if not their lack of Anti-Confucianism. Allyn Ricket calls them "Realist Confucian." They are not so draconian, while hallmark Shang Yang is quite explicitly Anti-Confucian (there is technically no founder of the "school"). Though Shang Yang drew much of his policies from a number of sources, more draconian versions are applied. The writings of both periods have similar flavour, and could even be considered the same "school" (Realist), but the addition of the draconian legal code seems to put a distinctive "edge" on realist philosophy, certainly where later perception of history is concerned. The state which exemplifies and for all practical purposes adopts Shang Yang legalism is Warring-States Period state Qin.

Of Autumn and Spring period writers, Allyn Ricket writes in Guanzi: "The political writings are usually described as Legalist, but "realist" or "pragmatic" might be a better description. For the most part they tend to present a point of view much closer to that of the realistic Confucian, Xunzi then either the highly idealistic Confucianism of Mencius or the Draconian Legalism advocated by Shang Yang and his followers and supposedly implemented in the state of Qin especially under the First Emperor." pgs 3-4

Also, Legalism is rule BY law, not rule OF law which is a western concept. Law in Legalism is firstly a tool of the ruler (though Han Fei argues that the ruler should try to rule by law exclusively if he can, considering this advantageous). It is not expected that the state can run itself right off the bat without the ruler by means of law, though this including eventually not having to apply the law at all is held as an ideal. (FourLights (talk) 08:35, 29 July 2011 (UTC))

Okay, but in a Western democracy, law might also be seen as a tool for the "rulers" - the people! People craft laws to achieve desirable goals, to curry favor with certain segments of the population, and as a hedge against unwanted events, and they use laws as a weapon against their opponents (via such means as lawsuits and calling the police) as well as a shield (arguing they have the right to do what they're doing). — Rickyrab. Yada yada yada 16:46, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Laws in the United States are proposed by interest groups and crafted by congress.FourLights (talk) 19:18, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

Legalism vs. fascism vs. communism[edit]

How do legalism, fascism, and communism compare with one another? How are they alike? How are they different? 68.37.254.48 (talk) 16:35, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

They are alike in regards the expansion of the state, whose administration (albeit with a certain emphasis toward minimalism in the form devolvement toward family, village and local magnate) defined post-Qin Chinese history up to the modern day. But in terms of rights, it is not like the feudal period of history was full of them, though I wouldn't say China was rights-poor. It is a faulty comparison, except for those who wish to say "look, the feudal era, like Mussolini, had an authoritarian state, in those areas developed enough to have a state." Yes, and I'd pick China to live in rather than Feudal Europe for much of history, too. Perhaps if China was more militarist they'd have kicked out the Mongols rather than merely wall them out. Consider your era. If anything, once established, China's superstate could afford to be humane than Feudal Europe, and generally lasted longer. The Chinese like their unified periods. FourLights (talk) 23:10, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

1. The Fascist idea as applied in Italy consists in the incorporation of corporations into the high state, albiet unsuccessfully since the capitalists are disinterested in this and prefer the state be a separate entity at their command (Italian corporations eventually boycotted the Fascist state).

Legalism isn't anti-business, as emphasized by the granting of audience and office to successful business persons (more feudal states did not entertain merchants), but the state is run at the top by the high administration. Chinese dynasties would have state monopolies run by business persons as attempts at economic management or taxation, though the usefulness of the attempt by this method is variable.

Regarding plutocracy, it's implied that one trades the option of the larger monetary sums offered for the higher offices, as one and the other are seperate rewards. Following Han Fei philosophy, a merchant, or anyone found to be beneficial for that matter, might be able to take reigns as a state function, but the functions of the office and the person must be clearly defined and it is recommended that they be particular. The state's entertaining of the merchants was a profound innovation for the aristocratic, warring era.

2. Bolshevism emphasized central planning. Obviously the Qin became very centralized, but Shang Yang Legalism doesn't consider the predominance of the private sphere a threat at lower levels, giving land to those who make the most successful use of land. Han Fei recommends the product be stored in public granaries, something that seems to have been carried out. Regarding Communist concepts, in some ways Legalist practice actually "fades away" the state (i.e. the bureaucracy) more successfully than Bolshevism, in the sense of passing responsibility for implementing law onto the family and village. Though historically the Chinese state was pervasive, it was also defined by this decentralization/minamlism, less legalism post-Qin. FourLights (talk) 01:01, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

Pro-Legalist views[edit]

Legalism has been described in a very negative way in the dominant Confucian tradition. Here are some links to academic papers assessing Legalism in a more balanced or even positive way. http://www.philosophy.hku.hk/ch/Substance-Function.htm http://law.nus.edu.sg/sjls/articles/SJLS-2005-313.pdf

These can be useful as the material in them can make the article more balanced. The controversy about rule of law vs. rule by law is also explicitly treated there, as it should be in this article as well. I would incorporate some of the stuff there myself, but I don't feel like it, at least at the moment.--91.148.130.233 (talk) 23:45, 7 July 2012 (UTC)