« Taiwanese Journal of Political Science No.99Publish: 2024/03

Analyzing the Relationship between “Dao” and “Fa” in Hanfeizi Through the Effectiveness of Law

Author: Szu-hsuan Hung

Abstract / Chinese PDF Download

This article uses the effectiveness of law to delineate the relationship between “fa” (law) and “Dao” (the way). Effectiveness is defined as the attainment of something by proper means or the reasonable support of an argument. It can be said that a law is “better” if the law is effective. According to Hanfeizi, giving orders that disregard the situations of others are harmful to governing, and altruistic orders are harmful to national wealth. These are examples of moral yet improper laws. Furthermore, common interest is equivalent to the king’s interest as long as maintaining this interest does not threaten the king’s political power. In this research, this is called rational egoism. As for moral and proper laws, they are presented in Hanfeizi’s thought as shilidao (事-理-道). If we can accept rational egoism as a kind of moral theory, then we can say that it is a sort of lasso thrown from positive law to natural law, and is a method that Hanfeizi uses to distinguish “better” laws from “worse” laws.

Keywords:Dao、Effectiveness、Hanfeizi、Law、Natural Law、Positive Law