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The Shenzi FragmentsA Philosophical Analysis and Translation$
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Eirik Lang Harris

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231177665

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231177665.001.0001

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Shen Dao’s Political Philosophy

Shen Dao’s Political Philosophy

(p.11) Shen Dao’s Political Philosophy
The Shenzi Fragments

Eirik Lang Harris

Columbia University Press

Builds up a picture of Shen Dao’s political philosophy by focusing on his analyses of the source, nature, and justification of political organization and order. I argue that his thought can only be understood by first coming to an understanding of his conception of the natural realm and how and why he believes that it is essential to model the social and political realm upon this natural realm. This understanding of nature only gets us so far, however, and must be coupled with a deeper awareness of human dispositions, primary among them that people act based on their own private interests, their strengths and abilities vary, and feelings of resentment and expectation arise when decisions are regarded as subjective. Only once these aspects of the natural world and human nature are understood and accounted for is it possible to construct a stable political realm.

Keywords:   Shen Dao, political philosophy, natural world, loyalty, law, ruler

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