The Idea of Law in Classical Chinese Legalist Jurisprudence
Ip, Eric C. 'The Idea of Law in Classical Chinese Legalist Jurisprudence,' 9 Global Jurist 2 (2009). Doi: 10.2202/1934-2640.1311.
Posted: 27 Oct 2019 Last revised: 4 Dec 2019
Date Written: October 27, 2009
Being one of the most eminent schools of jurisprudence in Eastern Philosophy, Classical Chinese Legalism has a lot to offer to the understanding of the underlying forces which shaped East Asian legal systems even to the present day. I will comprehensively reconstruct the Legalist idea of law in three dimensions, (1) law and society, (2) law and politics, and (3) law and morality. I will refute the overtly negative and simplistic conventional readings that suggest that Legalism is merely a Legal Positivist blueprint of authoritarian statecraft. The longneglected connections between Legalism and the cosmic order have grounded law on a particular political morality. Despite being plagued by some difficulties, the Legalists' contributions to social theory, anthropology, and procedural values are significant, even to researchers in a global era.
Keywords: Chinese Law; Legalism; Han Fei; law and the cosmic order; China; jurisprudence
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation