Legalist Philosophy: Law, Methods, Powerbase World History I St. Anne’s-Belfield
Continuity with Confucianism and TaoismIn terms of goals, what did Legalism have incommon with Confucianism and Taoism?
Key Legalist Concepts I View of Human Nature View of Human Nature According to Confucius, what was the principle responsibility of the ruler?• Confucius had suggested that men should be governed primarily by the MORAL EXAMPLE of a good ruler• What was the Confucian view of human nature? What appears to be the Legalist view of human naturePEOPLE ARE INHERENTLY BAD AND DRIVEN BY SELFISH DESIRES! Historically, on what was this view of human nature based?
Key Legalist Concepts II: Refutation of Conventional Morality 1. Refutation of Conventional Morality Legalists believed that morality wasbased in selfish, individual motives 3. Filial piety undermines aHow could Confucian morality powerful military structurebe used for selfish gain? – Why would this be true?–Useless to try to educate people in Instills a sense of shame so that youmorality; they’ll just be selfish won’t dishonor law and propriety2. Confucian morality does not workunder modern circumstances -What changed between ancient and modern times which made morality obsolete?
Key Legalist Concepts III: The Concept of Law The Concept of LawStability required ruleof morality, Instead by Legalistslaw and a powerful state emphasized the importance of– According to Legalists, whatdid the establishment and and inflexible law harshmaintenance ofenforced by a powerful ruler a strong stateand rule by law require? as the only means of Ruler considered the cornerstone of stability an orderly, achieving Ruler->rule by prosperous society law-> strong state->stability
Law Under the LegalistsLegalists argued for anelaborate system of lawsdefining fixed penaltiesfor each offense, with noexceptions for rank, classor circumstances- NOONE IS ABOVE THELAW EXCEPT THERULER!
Key Legalist Concepts IV: The Concept of Methods The Concept of Methods “Methods” were key to the construction andmaintenance of a stable, powerful monarchy Only ruler should use Methods Different from law; intended to govern ONLY the relations between kings and their minsters Goal is to keep royal court off balance to preserve the power of the ruler
The Ch’in Dynasty The Legalists’ dreams and nightmares were realized when in221BC China was unified under the Ch’in Dynasty as the result ofputting Legalist ideas into practice.
Why was Shih Huang Ti a great ruler?Shih Huang Ti brought orderto China as he standardized, centralized, and unified China. Standardization Centralization Unification