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You are watching: What are some of the basic beliefs of legalism?

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Legalism in old China was a philosophical belief that people are an ext inclined to do wrong 보다 right because they are encouraged entirely by self-interest and require strict laws to regulate their impulses. That was occurred by the theorist Han Feizi (l. C. 280 - 233 BCE) of the state the Qin.

Han Feizi is assumed to have actually been a college student of the Confucian reformer (and last of the Five great Sages that Confucianism), Xunzi (l. C. 310-c.235 BCE) that departed from the main precept of Confucianism that people were usually good, claiming lock most definitely were not for, if they were, they would certainly not require instruction in goodness.




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Han Feizi drew on this one element of Xunzi"s work as well as earlier works of the Warring States period of China (c. 481 - 221 BCE) by a Qin statesman called Shang Yang (d. 338 BCE) to construct his ideology that, due to the fact that humans were naturally evil, legislations to control and punish were a need for social order. Also though Legalism during the Qin empire resulted in huge loss that life and culture, it have to be remembered that the philosophy arisen during a time of continuous warfare in China when each state dealt with every various other for control and imposing order on this chaos was, obviously, taken into consideration of the utmost importance.

The fostering of Legalism

For end 200 year the civilization of China experienced war as their day-to-day reality and a legalistic method to do the efforts to manage people"s worst impulses - controlling world through the risk of severe punishment because that doing not correct - would have actually seemed favor the best method to resolve the chaos. Shang Yang"s legalism dealt with daily situations yet extended to just how one should conduct one"s self in war and he is attributed with the techniques of complete war which allowed the state of Qin to defeat the various other warring says to regulate China.


Legalism ended up being the main philosophy the the Qin dynasty (221 - 206 BCE) as soon as the very first emperor the China, Shi Huangdi (r. 221-210 BCE), increased to power and banned all other philosophies as a corrupting influence. Confucianism was especially condemned due to the fact that of that insistence on the simple goodness of human beings and its teaching that human being only essential to be tenderness directed toward good in order come behave well.

During the Qin Dynasty any type of books which walk not support the Legalist ideology were burned and writers, philosophers, and teachers of other philosophies were executed. The excesses of the Qin Dynasty"s legalism do the regime really unpopular v the world of the time. After the Qin to be overthrown, Legalism was abandoned in favor of Confucianism and also this affected the development of the society of China significantly.