Does Han Fei Have a Conception of Justice?
Han Fei, justice, legalism, government house, resentment
Han Fei’s political theory is widely characterized as eschewing any connection with morality; so, can he have any conception of justice? In this paper, I accept the interpretation of Han Fei jettisoning any moral commitment, but I argue that he gives heed to an understanding of justice. This conception of justice arises naturally from the ordinary human sentiment of resentment for wrongs done and becomes a moral staple in the consciousness of ordinary people. Such a conception of justice has these features: all and only the guilty receive punishment, and the punishments are in some sense proportionate to the crime. Since disregarding this popular conception of justice results in resentment and political instability, Han Fei, without any moral commitment to it, accepts the popular conception of justice on prudential and consequentialist grounds.
Original Publication Citation
“Does Han Fei Have a Conception of Justice?” Asian Philosophy 28.2 (2018)
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Mower, Gordon, "Does Han Fei Have a Conception of Justice?" (2018). Philosophy Faculty Publications. 7.