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



Chapter I Introduction
1. The Silk Manuscripts of Huang-Lao
1.1 Text
1.2 Title
1.3 Authorship
1.4 Dating
2. Methodology
2.1 Philosophy of Law: A Hermeneutical Framework

Chapter II The Natural Way of Huang-Lao
1. Foundational Naturalism
1.1 Huang-Lao Naturalism
1.2 Huang-Lao Foundationalism
2. The Nature of Nature
2.1 Nature as Impersonal
2.2 Nature as Constant
2.3 Nature as Rule Governed
3. The Place of Humans Within the Natural Order
3.1 Dao
3.2 Xing Ming: Forms and Names
3.3 Li: Principle
3.4 Fa: Law
4. Following the Way
4.1 Naturalist Foundations of Social Institutions
4.2 Metaphors of Compliance
4.3 Huang-Lao Epistemology

Chapter III The Social and Political Philosophy of Huang-Lao
1. Huang-Lao Natural Law Jurisprudence
1.1 Rule of Law
1.2 Rule of Natural Law
2. The Huang-Lao State
2.1 Yellow Emperor as Symbol
2.2 Centralized Feudal Bureaucracy
2.3 Government for the People

Chapter IV The Anthropocentric Pragmatism of Confucius
1. General Character of Confucius's Philosophy
1.1 Pragmatic Coherence versus Foundational Correspondence
1.2 Pragmatic Coherence and the Logical-Aesthetic Distinction
2. Confucius's Social and Political Philosophy
2.1 Jurisprudence
2.2 Politics of Harmony
2.3 A Huang-Lao Critique

Chapter V The Pragmatic Statesmanship of Han Fei
1. Han Fei's Legal Positivism
1.1 Rule by Law
1.2 Rule by Positive Law
2. Han Fei's Pragmatic Arts of Rulership
2.1 The Practical Way of Han Fei
2.2 Han Fei's Legalist State

Chapter VI The Daoist Ways of Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi
1. Lao Zi's Way
1.1 Zhi as Discovery
1.2 Dao as Emergent Order
2. Zhuang Zi's Way
2.1 Zhi Dao: Realizing an Emergent Order
2.2 Zhuang Zi's Politics of Harmony

Chapter VII The Evolution of Huang-Lao Thought
1. Antecedents
1.1 Emergence of Naturalism
1.2 Jixia Academy
2. Ascendence in the Early Han
2.1 Huang-Lao: A Response to the Times
2.2 Huang-Lao Policies and Early Han Politics
3. The Fall from Power
3.1 Court Intrigue
3.2 Explaining the Fall
4. Dénouement
4.1 Huang-Lao and Religious Daoism
4.2 Naturalism and Immortality

Chapter VIII Epilogue
1. Huang-Lao and Contemporary Philosophy
2. Huang-Lao and Contemporary Jurisprudence in the PRC

Appendix: He Guan Zi and Huang-Lao Thought




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