© 2013

Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Han Fei

  • Paul R. Goldin


  • A groundbreaking work that inquires into aspects of Han Fei's philosophy that have been previously neglected

  • The first edited volume on Han Fei in English, bringing contemporary research to bear on one of the foremost thinkers of classical China

  • With contributions by specialists from a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, intellectual history, and religious studies


Part of the Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy book series (DCCP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Han Fei’s Predecessors

  3. The Philosophy of Han Fei

  4. Han Fei and Confucianism

  5. Studies of Specific Chapters

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 283-288

About this book


Han Fei, who died in 233 BC, was one of the primary philosophers of China’s classical era, a reputation still intact despite recent neglect. This edited volume on the thinker, his views on politics and philosophy, and the tensions of his relations with Confucianism (which he derided) is the first of its kind in English.

Featuring contributions from specialists in various disciplines including religious studies and literature, this new addition to the Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy series includes the latest research. It breaks new ground with studies of Han Fei’s intellectual antecedents, and his relationship as a historical figure with Han Feizi, the text attributed to him, as well as surveying the full panoply of his thought. It also includes a chapter length survey of relevant scholarship, both in Chinese and Japanese.


Chinese conceptions of history Chinese legalism Chinese philosophy Chinese political Philosophy Chinese theories of statecraft Commentaries on Laozi Forms and names Han Fei Han Feizi Non-action Performance and title Reward and punishment Wuwei xingming

Editors and affiliations

  • Paul R. Goldin
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. East Asian Languages &, CivilizationsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

Bibliographic information


From the book reviews:

“Goldin et al.’s multidisciplinary and erudite view on the Hán Fēizĭ is ultimately of twofold benefit. Firstly, it will please the specialist owing to the array of groundbreaking scholarship and, secondly, it will furnish a solid understanding of crucial issues in the study of Hán Fēi and legalism in general for those new to the subject, thus fulfilling what one would expect from an actual companion.” (Lukas Pokorny, Religious Studies Review, Vol. 40 (3), September, 2014)

“Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Han Fei, the book under review, is a milestone on the way to advancing the academic standing of this often misunderstood philosopher. Serving as an introduction or overview of Han Fei’s philosophy as well as an assessment of specific ideas and issues within Legalist thought and its relationship to Confucianism, this is a much needed book, a collection of essays, a true ‘companion.’” (Henrique Schneider, Dao, Vol. 13, 2014)