A Comparison of the Legitimacy of Power Between Confucianist and Legalist Philosophies

Author(s): Ma, Li

About this Entry
Abstract The concept of legitimacy is at the heart of the theory of power. It is essential to understand how a political power is built and how obedience is obtained among the population. We examine here the legitimacy of power for two of the most important political philosophies of classical China: Confucianism and Legalism. We show how a specific group of the population, the scholar-officials, play a specialised role in the two systems, acting as a legitimisation group. We further compare rites and laws as a way to obtain social order, and morality vs punishments as a way to obtain obedience. We conclude that the Confucianist system is less fragile than the Legalist, but also more oppressive, since it allows fewer personal choices to individuals.
Publication Title Asian Philosophy
Publisher Taylor & Francis Group
Publication Date 03/2000
URIs http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09552360050001761
http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcAuth=SerialsSolutions&SrcApp=Summon&KeyUT=000086736900004&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=WOS
http://search.proquest.com/docview/203537189
Keywords ASIAN STUDIES
Beliefs, opinions and attitudes
China
Chinese
Comparative studies
Confucianism
Legitimacy of governments
PHILOSOPHY
Philosophy
Philosophy, Chinese
Political aspects
Political theory
Power
Power (Social sciences)
View Raw JSON