Law and Morality in Ancient China: The Silk Manuscripts of Huang-Lao

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The first full-length treatment in English of the Silk Manuscripts of Huang-Lao, unearthed by archaeologists in 1973, and the light they shed on the important Huang-Lao system of Chinese political philosophy, which fell from favor about 140 BC, but highly influenced subsequent thought. The philosophy combined elements of Daoism and Legalism, and dominated the intellectual life of the late Warring States and Early Han periods. Paper edition (unseen), $19.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Ch. I Introduction 1
1 The Silk Manuscripts of Huang-Lao 1
1.1 Text 6
1.2 Title 7
1.3 Authorship 9
1.4 Dating 12
2 Methodology 19
2.1 Philosophy of Law: A Hermeneutical Framework 20
Ch. II The Natural Way of Huang-Lao 27
1 Foundational Naturalism 27
1.1 Huang-Lao Naturalism 28
1.2 Huang-Lao Foundationalism 31
2 The Nature of Nature 41
2.1 Nature as Impersonal 42
2.2 Nature as Constant 43
2.3 Nature as Rule Governed 43
3 The Place of Humans Within the Natural Order 51
3.1 Dao 51
3.2 Xing Ming: Forms and Names 55
3.3 Li: Principle 61
3.4 Fa: Law 61
4 Following the Way 62
4.1 Naturalist Foundations of Social Institutions 62
4.2 Metaphors of Compliance 64
4.3 Huang-Lao Epistemology 70
Ch. III The Social and Political Philosophy of Huang-Lao 75
1 Huang-Lao Natural Law Jurisprudence 76
1.1 Rule of Law 76
1.2 Rule of Natural Law 79
2 The Huang-Lao State 84
2.1 Yellow Emperor as Symbol 84
2.2 Centralized Feudal Bureaucracy 92
2.3 Government for the People 98
Ch. IV The Anthropocentric Pragmatism of Confucius 103
1 General Character of Confucius's Philosophy 105
1.1 Pragmatic Coherence versus Foundational Correspondence 105
1.2 Pragmatic Coherence and the Logical-Aesthetic Distinction 113
2 Confucius's Social and Political Philosophy 118
2.1 Jurisprudence 118
2.2 Politics of Harmony 126
2.3 A Huang-Lao Critique 133
Ch. V The Pragmatic Statesmanship of Han Fei 139
1 Han Fei's Legal Positivism 140
1.1 Rule by Law 140
1.2 Rule by Positive Law 142
2 Han Fei's Pragmatic Arts of Rulership 153
2.1 The Practical Way of Han Fei 154
2.2 Han Fei's Legalist State 161
Ch. VI The Daoist Ways of Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi 171
1 Lao Zi's Way 172
1.1 Zhi as Discovery 177
1.2 Dao as Emergent Order 191
2 Zhuang Zi's Way 197
2.1 Zhi Dao: Realizing an Emergent Order 197
2.2 Zhuang Zi's Politics of Harmony 205
Ch. VII The Evolution of Huang-Lao Thought 217
1 Antecedents 218
1.1 Emergence of Naturalism 218
1.2 Jixia Academy 224
2 Ascendence in the Early Han 242
2.1 Huang-Lao: A Response to the Times 242
2.2 Huang-Lao Policies and Early Han Politics 244
3 The Fall from Power 249
3.1 Court Intrigue 249
3.2 Explaining the Fall 251
4 Denouement 256
4.1 Huang-Lao and Religious Daoism 256
4.2 Naturalism and Immortality 257
Ch. VIII Epilogue 263
1 Huang-Lao and Contemporary Philosophy 265
2 Huang-Lao and Contemporary Jurisprudence in the PRC 266
Appendix: He Guan Zi and Huang-Lao Thought 273
Notes 285
Bibliography 355
Index 375
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