https://doi.org/10.31979/2151-6014(2013).040109">
  •  
  •  
 

Abstract

Han Fei was one of the main proponents of Legalism in Qin-era China. Although his works are mostly read from a historic perspective, the aim of this paper is to advance an interpretation of Han Fei as a “social scientist”. The social sciences are the fields of academic scholarship that study society and its institutions as a consequence of human behavior. Methodologically, social sciences combine abstract approaches in model-building with empiric investigations, seeking to prove the functioning of the models. In a third step, social sciences also aim at providing policy advice. Han Fei can be read as operating similarly. First, he builds a model of the nature of men, the state, and its interconnections, and then he uses history as empiric ground to prove his models. Again, after studying society as a “raw fact”, Han Fei develops models on how to deal with “society”. This article examines the “social scientific” inclinations of Han Fei by re-reading Chapter 49 of his book and applying an analysis in “historical correspondence”. This article serves as a case-study in this new type of analysis that can prove fruitful for the advancement of comparative philosophy.

Share

COinS