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We are fortunate, however, in the few facts we have, for they supply us with a motive and setting for his writings, and an account of his death which, whatever its reliability as history, adds a fine touch of dramatic irony.

So far as we know, Han Fei was the only nobleman among the important early Chinese philosophers. Confucius, Mozi, Mencius, Zhuangzi, Xunzi seem to have been men of the lower gentry, descendants perhaps of aristocratic families that had sunk into poverty and no longer occupied a position of any real power in the feudal hierarchy of the day.

Hence, as we see from their lives, though they manifested the customary loyalty and respect toward the ruler of their native state, they did not hesitate to travel about visiting other rulers, settle in other states, or withdraw from the world entirely.

The very humbleness of their birth allowed them a freedom of thought and movement that was denied to the noblemen above them in the social scale, as it was to the peasants beneath them. An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. No cover image. Read preview. Synopsis Trenchant, sophisticated, and cynical, Han Feizi has been read in every age and is still of interest today when people are more than ever concerned with the nature and use of power.

Han Feizi ? His handbook for the ruler deals with the problems of strengthening and preserving the state, the way of the ruler, the use of power, and punishment and favor. Ironically, the ruler most influenced by Han Feizi, the king of Qin, eventually sent Han Feizi to prison, where he later committed suicide.

Read preview Overview. Hughes Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, Newsweek International, December 26, Kumarajiva The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Confucianism The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Chinese music The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. We use cookies to deliver a better user experience and to show you ads based on your interests. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our Privacy Policy.

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Han Feizi: Basic Writings

After the early demise of the Qin dynasty , Han Fei's philosophy was officially vilified by the following Han Dynasty. Despite its outcast status throughout the history of imperial China, his political theory continued to heavily influence every dynasty thereafter, and the Confucian ideal of a rule without laws was never again realized. Though differing considerably in style, the coherency of the essays lend themselves to the possibility that they were written by Han Fei himself, and are generally considered more philosophically engaging than the Book of Lord Shang. Dedicated to statecraft, Han Fei describes an interest-driven human nature together with the political methodologies to work with it in the interest of the state and Sovereign, namely, engaging in wu-wei passive observation ; and the setting up and systematic use of Fa law, measurement, statistic to maintain leadership and manage human resources, its use to increase welfare, and its relation with justice. Rather than rely too much on worthies, who might not be trustworthy, Han binds their programs to which he makes no judgement, apart from observances of the facts to systematic reward and penalty the "Two Handles" , fishing the subjects of the state by feeding them with interests. That being done, the ruler minimizes his own input.


Han Fei Tzu: Basic Writings

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Han Feizi : Basic Writings (Translations from the Asian Classics) [Paperback]


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