Adventures in Chinese Realism

Classic Philosophy Applied to Contemporary Issues

Edited by Eirik Lang Harris & Henrique Schneider

Subjects: Political Science, Chinese Religion And Philosophy, Chinese Studies, History, Sociology
Hardcover : 9781438487915, 240 pages, March 2022
Paperback : 9781438487922, 240 pages, September 2022

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Table of contents

Eirik Lang Harris and Henrique Schneider

1. Daoist Realism: The Challenge to the School of Law in the Radical Lao-Zhuang Tradition and Its Lessons for Realist Theories of International Relations
John A. Rapp

2. The Han Feizi and the Presidential Bubble
Gordon B. Mower

3. Han Fei and Ethics in the Corporate Realm
Eirik Lang Harris

4. Applying Han Fei's Critique of Confucianism to Contemporary Confucian Meritocracy
Zujie Jeremy Huang

5. The Legal Vocation of Chinese Scholar-Officials: A Plan for Reform
Kenneth Winston

6. Hegemony: China's Foreign Policy through Han Feizian Lenses
Henrique Schneider

7. Politics, Language, and Mind in Early Chinese Legalist Ideas: Focusing on the Comparison of Shen Buhai with Han Fei
Soon-ja Yang

8. Chinese Legalist Analysis of German Administrative Law—Tripolar Action Modes and Reconceptualized Rulership
Philipp Renninger

9. Han Fei's Genealogical Arguments
Lee Wilson

10. Amoral Desert? Han Fei's Theory of Punishment
Eirik Lang Harris

11. Ideal Interpretation of Political Texts
Al Martinich

Appendix 1: Relating the Chapters of this Volume

Appendix 2: Suggestions for Use in Class


Relates Chinese Realism to contemporary political and ethical challenges, such as in international relations and the morality of the public sector.


Realism, or Legalism, was once a significant influence in classical Chinese philosophy, later eclipsed by Confucianism. Its ideas, however, remain alive and powerful. Realists propose dealing with real-world problems using real-world instruments, such as incentives, rewards, institutions, and punishments. Adventures in Chinese Realism updates Chinese Realism to explain contemporary political and philosophical issues in a matter-of-fact, thought-provoking way. Contributors to this volume demonstrate how many of the Legalist recipes for creating strength, security, and order can be applied today. In many areas—international relations, corporate ethics, the organization of the public sector, and the roles that bureaucrats and politicians play—Realism offers unique ways to align these inherently particularistic actions with the broader common good.

Eirik Lang Harris teaches in the Department of Philosophy at Colorado State University. He is the author of The Shenzi Fragments: A Philosophical Analysis and Translation. Henrique Schneider is Professor of Economics and Philosophy of Economics at the Nordakademie University of Applied Sciences in Germany. He is the author of An Introduction to Hanfei's Political Philosophy: The Way of the Ruler.


"Adventures in Chinese Realism makes an important contribution to the field by highlighting and expounding with sophistication the contribution that a neglected part of classical Chinese thought—Chinese Realism—can make to contemporary issues in diverse fields." — Alejandro Bárcenas, Texas State University