Economic Aspects Of The Qin Dynasty

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Economic Aspects Of The Qin Dynasty



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18. Qin Dynasty Policies, Economics, Social Hierarchy, and Fall

The broadest sovereign is what gets translated as the single term emperor in English. An emperor might appoint or confirm or tolerate subsovereigns or tributary rulers styled kings. As a title of nobility, Ba Wang, hegemon , recognized overlordship of several subordinate kings while refraining from claiming the title of emperor within the imperium of the Chinese subcontinent, such as its borders were considered from era to era. Sovereigns holding the title of king of an individual state within and without the shifting borders of the Chinese imperium might be fully independent heads of foreign nations, such as the King of Korea who might, in some cases, be subordinate to foreign emperors just as territorial or tribal sovereign Mongol khans might be subject to one of several Khagans or Great khans.

Confusingly, some Chinese emperors styled many or all close male relatives of certain kinds such as brothers, uncles, or nephews as wang, a term for king, using it as a courtesy title. The downward extensibility of terms for "king" in more casual usage also influences other allusive uses of these terms. In modern colloquial Chinese the term "king" is sometimes also used, roughly as loosely as in English, for such non-literal terms as mien da wang, "great king of noodles" for a pasta-lover, where an English-speaker might use such terms as [King of the Road]. Family members of individual sovereigns were also born to titles or granted specific titles by the sovereign, largely according to family tree proximity, including blood relatives and in-laws and adoptees of predecessors and older generations of the sovereign.

Frequently, the parents of a new dynasty-founding sovereign would become elevated with sovereign or ruling family ranks, even if this was already a posthumous act at the time of the dynasty-founding sovereign's accession. Titles translated in English as "prince" and "princess" were generally immediate or recent descendants of sovereigns, with increasing distance at birth from an ancestral sovereign in succeeding generations resulting in degradations of the particular grade of prince or princess and finally degradation of posterity's ranks as a whole below that of prince and princess.

Sovereigns of smaller states are typically styled with lesser titles of aristocracy such as Duke of a Duchy or Marquis rather than as hereditary sovereign Princes who do not ascend to kingship as in the European case of the Principality of Monaco , and dynasties which gained or lost significant territory might change the titles of successive rulers from sovereign to aristocratic titles or vice versa, either by self-designation of the ruler or through imposed entitlement from a conquering state.

For example, when Shu state 's kings were conquered by Qin state , its Kaiming rulers became Marquises such as Marquis Hui of Shu who attempted a rebellion against Qin overlords in BC. Although formally Tianzi, "The Son of Heaven ," the power of the Chinese emperor varied between different emperors and different dynasties, with some emperors being absolute rulers and others being figureheads with actual power in the hands of court factions, eunuchs , the bureaucracy or noble families.

The title of emperor was usually transmitted from father to son. Most often, the first-born son of the empress inherited the office, failing which the post was taken up by the first-born son of a concubine or consort of lower rank, but this rule was not universal and disputed succession was the cause of a number of civil wars. Unlike the case of Japan , the emperor's regime in traditional Chinese political theory allowed for a change in dynasty, and an emperor could be replaced by a rebel leader. This was because a successful rebel leader was believed to enjoy the Mandate of Heaven , while the deposed or defeated emperor had lost favour with the gods, and his mandate was over, a fact made apparent to all by his defeat.

It was generally not accepted for a female to succeed to the throne as a sovereign regnant in her own right , rather than playing the role of a sovereign's consort or regent for a sovereign who was still a minor in age, so that in history of China there has only been one reigning empress, the Empress Wu , whose reign occurred during and actually caused an interregnum of the Tang dynasty. Hou, Empress, actually Empress Consort in English terms, [3] was a title granted to an official primary spouse of the polygamous male Chinese Emperor, and for the mother of the Emperor, typically elevated to this rank of Empress Dowager , bearing a senior title such as Tai Hou, Grand Empress, regardless of which spousal ranking she bore prior to the emperor's accession.

In practice, many Chinese Empress Dowagers, either as official regent for a sovereign who was still a minor in age or from the influence of position within family social ranks, wielded great power or is historically considered to have been the effective wielder of supreme power in China, as in the case of Empress Dowager Cixi , Regent of China considered de facto sovereign of China for 47 years during AD — Imperial Madams , ranking below Empress, aren't often distinguished in English from imperial Concubines , the next lower rank, but these were also titles of significance within the imperial household, and Imperial Madams might be translated as Consorts with the intention of distinguishing them from Empresses though all Empresses except the sole case of one Empress Regnant in Chinese history are technically Empress Consorts in English terms, primacy spouses of the Emperor Regnant who is actually invested with governmental rule.

Zhou li , the Rites of Zhou, states that Emperors are entitled to the following simultaneous spouses:. The title "Wang" should not be confused with the common surname, which, at least by middle and later Chinese historical usage, has no definite royal implications. Rulers of these dynasties are conventionally translated with the title "king" and sometimes "emperor" in English. It was a custom in China for the new dynasty to ennoble and enfeoff a member of the dynasty which they overthrew with a title of nobility and a fief of land so that they could offer sacrifices to their ancestors, in addition to members of other preceding dynasties. This practice was referred to as "the two crownings and three respects.

When the Xia dynasty was overthrown by the Shang dynasty , Xia descendants were given a title and fiefs by the Shang King in the Qi Henan , and Zeng state. The Kings of Yue state claimed to be a cadet branch of the Xia. When the Shang dynasty was overthrown by the Zhou dynasty , the Zhou King granted a Shang descendant the title of Duke and fief in the Song state , and the Zhou King also reconfirmed the titles of the Xia descendants in the Qi and Zeng. Confucius was a descendant of the Shang Kings via the Song Dukes and Confucius' descendants held the hereditary title Duke Yansheng right to The Emperors of Shu Han came from a cadet branch of the Han dynasty.

His dukedom lasted several generations during Wei's successor state, the Jin Dynasty , before being extinguished in the turmoils caused by the Wu Hu. Sun Hao's sons were made junior officials in the Jin government. However Emperor Gong was ordered killed. Sima Guang was a Jin Imperial family descendant who became a chancellor in the Song dynasty hundreds of years after the fall of the Jin. However Emperor Shun was killed. However Emperor He was killed. However Emperor Jing was killed. The Xianbei Tuoba royal family of Northern Wei started to arrange for Han Chinese elites to marry daughters of the royal family in the s.

However Gao Heng was killed. About three months later, Emperor Wen had the Duke of Jie secretly assassinated as well, but pretended to be shocked and declared a mourning period, and then buried him with honors due an emperor. However Emperor Ai was killed. In , Qian Chu was made King of Hannan a smaller nominal feoff instead, and in reduced again to King of Hanyang, with the right to take up residence in Hanyang, but then immediately additionally created Prince of Xu, with an enlarged fief.

In , Qian Chu lost his title as king and was made Prince of Deng instead, with a larger nominal fief and actual income. Zhao Yiguang was a Song Imperial family descendant who was a writer during the Ming dynasty. When the Ming dynasty fell and the Qing dynasty took over, the Qing Emperors granted a Ming descendant the title Marquis of Extended Grace and gave him a stipend to perform sacrifices to his ancestors, the Ming Emperors at the Ming Imperial Tombs.

However, they had made a serious miscalculation in wrongfully believing that other Mongols would join them, when in reality only three thousand Chahar Mongols joined the rebellion. The Republic of China allowed the last Qing Emperor to stay in the Forbidden City and keep his title, treating him as a foreign monarch until The Zhou dynasty not only preceded the full unification of early China under the Qin dynasty , the first empire whose realm would subsequently be considered to extend broadly enough to be national in the context of the territorial concept of China, the Zhouli , Rites of Zhou were subsequently canonized by Confucius among his Confucian Chinese classics as a model precedent in principles of government, so ranks of nobility in later regimes both in periods of unified sovereignty and of competing smaller states would typically draw from its catalog of peerage.

From Zhouli, later Confucian political philosophy and government publications, and from the surrounding historical literature of particular individuals, localities and events, the following social classifications have been attested. The social system of the Zhou dynasty is sometimes referred to as the Chinese proto- feudalism and was the combination of Fengjian honors and awards and Zongfa clan law.

Male subjects were classified into, in descending order of rank:. The eldest son of the consort would inherit the title and retained the same rank within the system. Other sons from the consort, concubines and mistresses would be given titles one rank lower than their father. As time went by, all terms had lost their original meanings nonetheless. Physicians were often called Daifu during the Late Imperial China. Referring to a male or self-reference of a male as Gongzi eventually became a way to raise one's mianzi refer to Face social concept , and would indeed be considered flattery today.

Titles of female members of the aristocracies varied in different dynasties and eras, each having unique classifications for the spouses of the emperor. Besides the systematized ranks listed above, there were also other familial appellations used as titles, e. These honorifics occasionally became heritable titles, no longer indicating relation with the reigning king. And some clans even took them as family names. Gongzi eventually evolved into the generic honorific for all young gentry. Today it is either used as a flattering way to address an interlocutor's son, or an pejorative term for a wealthy man.

Wangzi , on the other hand, is used today as the generic translation for foreign princes in the sense of a monarch's son, as opposed to a sui generis title. The southern state of Chu had a notably distinct culture from the central plain states, including the nobility system. The royal Xiong clan and its collateral branches of Qu, Jing and Zhao formed the main aristocracy of Chu. Besides the royal clans, Chu did not have a system of nobility early on. Lord Chunshen. Noble titles in Chu were bestowed primarily as reward for military and civil service, and were not heritable in principle. Prior to the systematization of ranks in early Han dynasty , Liu Bang , being of Chu origin, also awarded distinctly Chu titles. Prior to the Qin dynasty , Wang sovereign was the title for the ruler of whole China.

They had the duty to support the Zhou king during an emergency and were ranked according to the Five Orders of Nobility. In the Spring and Autumn period , the Zhou kings had lost most of their powers, and the most powerful vassals became the de facto ruler of China. Finally, in the Warring States period , most vassals declared themselves Wang or kings, and regarded themselves as equal to the Zhou king. After Zheng, king of the state of Qin, later known as Qin Shi Huang , defeated all the other vassals and unified China, he adopted the new title of Huangdi emperor. Qin Shi Huang eliminated noble titles, as he sponsored legalism which believed in merit, not birth. He forced all nobles to the capital, seized their lands and turned them into administrative districts with the officials ruling them selected on merit.

The founder of the Han dynasty , Liu Bang, continued to use the title Huangdi. In order to appease his wartime allies, he gave each of them a piece of land as their own "kingdom" Wangguo along with a title of Wang. He eventually killed all of them and replaced them with members of his family. These kingdoms remained effectively independent until the Rebellion of the Seven States. Since then, Wang became merely the highest hereditary title, which roughly corresponded to the title of prince, and, as such, was commonly given to relatives of the emperor. The title Gong also reverted purely to a peerage title, ranking below Wang. Those who bore such titles were entirely under the auspices of the emperor, and had no ruling power of their own.

The two characters combined to form the rank, Wanggong , grew to become synonymous with all higher court officials. Nine-rank system [18] Dishu system [19]. Special "commanderies of immigrants" and "white registers" were created for the massive amount of northern-origin Han Chinese who moved south during the Eastern Jin dynasty. Literati of all ethnicities seemed to be regarded as Han Chinese, because even ethnic Xianbei affiliated with the Northern Wei were referred to insultingly as "damned Chinese" by the Northern Qi elites from the Northern Garrisons. Examples of individuals appearing as culturally Xianbei and at the same time declaring Han Chinese ancestry was Gao Huan and the Han family.

Gao was of Han Chinese background but Xianbei-acculturated. He was raised in Huaishuozhen while his family came from Bohai prefecture in modern Hebei. Bohai was asserted as the ancestral home of Gao Huan by Gao Huan. They adopted Chinese last names. Due to rebellions that plagued the south in late Northern and Southern dynasties, the Southerners were weaker than the Northerners, a situation exacerbated by the capital being in the north. The northeastern Chinese aristocracy during the Sui-Tang period was of pure Han blood, while they looked down upon the northwestern aristocracy which was of mixed Han and Xianbei blood. The northwest military aristocracy was the group from which the Sui dynasty Emperors originated; [42] they emphasized that their patrilineal ancestry was ethnic Han, [43] claiming descent from the Han official Yang Zhen.

Ancient Han ancestry was asserted by the Tang and Sui Emperors, [56] [57] while the admixture was the result of their Xianbei mothers, [53] [58] [59] [60] [61] [62] [63] the Dugu clan. The Northeastern aristocracy supported Wu Zetian while the Northwestern aristocracy opposed her. During the Tang dynasty , nobles lost most of their power to the mandarins when imperial examination replaced the nine-rank system.

A "marriage ban" was applied to the northeastern aristocracy by emperor Tang Taizong in an attempt to stop them from intermarrying further and reinforcing their prestige. However this policy backfired. Many aspects of their views in these areas are probably not distinctively Mohist, but instead reflect background assumptions widely shared by other classical Chinese thinkers. Thus a greater understanding of Mohist thought advances our understanding of early Confucianism, Daoism, and other schools as well. The unified moral standards cannot be chosen arbitrarily, however, for if people see that the standards do not genuinely promote social and moral order, they will defy them. So a crucial question for the Mohists is: What shall we take as the basis for unified moral norms?

This solution of course presupposes a rough, gentlemanly consensus about what is and is not appropriate behavior. Such a consensus seems to be assumed by the major Confucian figure Mencius, for instance, who sees little need to develop an explicit normative ethical theory, focusing instead on moral psychology. Perhaps partly because of their social origins , Mozi and his followers do not identify with the li ritual of the traditional high culture and so find this sort of traditionalist consensus an unconvincing moral guide.

To the suggestion that tradition can serve as a reliable moral standard, they respond by distinguishing between traditional customs and morality as such, pointing out that conformity to tradition is not in itself sufficient to ensure moral correctness. They make this point by considering — at roughly the same time Herodotus was raising similar issues in Greece — the challenge to parochial conceptions of what is right posed by the existence of disparate cultural practices.

In the past, east of Yue there was the country of Gai Shu. Yet how could these really be the Way of benevolence and righteousness?! Different cultures may have different, conflicting customs, some of which may be morally wrong by our lights. The mere fact that a practice is traditional or customary, as the li rituals, ceremonies are, does not show that it is right in the objective, universal sense expressed by moral concepts such as ren benevolence and yi righteousness, morality. The li thus cannot serve as an authoritative standard of a unified morality. We need to find other, objectively justified standards.

This search for objective moral standards by which to guide action and reform society lies at the heart of the Mohist philosophical and political project. A text from one of the later portions of the Mozi explains the role of fa in this way:. There is no one who can accomplish their task without models and standards. Even officers serving as generals or ministers, they all have models; even the hundred artisans performing their tasks, they too all have models.

The hundred artisans make squares with the set square, circles with the compass, straight lines with the string, vertical lines with the plumb line, and flat surfaces with the level. Whether skilled artisans or unskilled artisans, all take these five as models. The skilled are able to conform to them. The unskilled, though unable to conform to them, by following them in performing their tasks still surpass what they can do by themselves. Thus the hundred artisans in performing their tasks all have models to measure by.

As this passage indicates, the Mohists regard fa models as similar to tools used to guide and check the performance of skilled tasks, such as sawing a square corner or drawing a straight line. Fa are objective, reliable, and easy to use, so that with minimal training anyone can employ them to perform a task or check the results. Fa alone do not ensure success, nor do they erase the distinction between the skilled and unskilled — or between the virtuous and those still acquiring virtue — but for most of us they at least ensure that we will do better than we would without them. As in the case of the li ritual , however, the Mohists point out that any standard specific to our particular family, education, or community could turn out to be unreliable.

The Mohists propose that we can find such a standard by considering the attitudes of an ideally impartial, benevolent, and reliable moral agent: Tian Heaven, nature, the sky , whom they revere as a quasi-personal god. This notion of taking Heaven as a moral role model leads the Mohists to develop a credible normative theory based on equal, impartial concern for the welfare of all. At the same time, however, it steers them into formulating some of their central normative principles in a potentially problematic way. This view, if indeed the Mohists hold it, would invite several objections commonly leveled at crude forms of utilitarianism. In practice, I cannot possibly make breakfast for everyone each morning, only for myself, my family, and perhaps a few neighbors.

Another possible objection would be that by demanding excessive attention to the needs of others, Mohist ethics leaves individuals with insufficient resources to live their own lives well, thus sacrificing much of what makes an individual life good. The Mohists refer to the objective ethical standard they seek as a fa model, standard , a concept that plays a central part in their ethics and their views on language, knowledge, and argumentation or reasoning. Fa have a dual role, providing both practical guidelines and justificatory criteria for judgment and action.

In their action-guiding role, fa serve as guidelines or decision criteria that direct action and practical reasoning. In their justificatory role, on the other hand, fa may function as fundamental standards of correctness by which to justify actions and judgments. This observation provides a key to understanding both the concept of fa and, more broadly, the orientation of Mohist views about language, knowledge, cognition, and reasoning. The term fa denotes any guide, aid, or tool for following a norm or making a judgment. Explicit rules, laws, and definitions are all fa. But fa may also be role models, such as a virtuous parent, teacher, or ruler.

In short, any criterion or paradigm that helps us to make correct judgments or to act correctly can be a fa. The reason such a wide range of items can serve as fa is that the Mohists regard fa primarily not as principles or rules, but as different types of practical models used to guide the performance of norm-governed activities. The objective ethical standards they seek are not definitions or universal principles, from which they will derive particular consequences by deductive reasoning. Instead, they seek a reliable role model or paradigm for their actions and practices to copy or emulate. This is why they can propose, as their highest fa or ethical standard, not a normative principle, but Heaven itself, considered as the highest, most reliable moral agent in the natural order.

The prominence of practical models or exemplars reflects two fundamental features of Mohist thought and arguably of classical Chinese philosophy generally. The first is its practical, pragmatic orientation. The focus of early Chinese thought is on correct practical performance, not theoretical description or representation. The central questions for early Chinese thinkers are not What is the truth, and how do we know it? Fa are in effect tools to aid us in following the dao , and anything that guides practical performance effectively can serve as a fa. A concrete exemplar or model that one can emulate is considered as useful as a principle or definition indeed, principles and definitions are apparently seen as one variety of practical model.

The second, interrelated feature is that the Mohists regard cognition, judgment, and inference as processes of analogical pattern recognition — specifically, processes of distinguishing relevantly similar kinds of objects, events, or actions from dissimilar ones. Fa are in effect reference prototypes for use in pattern recognition. Both of these features are illustrated by how the Mohists describe the application of fa. Formally, ethical fa are not regarded as general principles that we apply as the major premise of a kind of deductive argument, such as a practical syllogism. Drawing distinctions in this way is the functional equivalent, in Mohist thought, of making a judgment or forming a belief.

The ability to draw the distinctions correctly is knowledge. Since for the Mohists fa include rules as well as models and examples, in their eyes the process of deducing a conclusion from a general rule or principle is in effect a special case of the more general cognitive process of comparing things to models and drawing distinctions. Thus they tend to explain all forms of reasoning, including deductive inference, as species of pattern recognition or analogical reasoning. Action, linguistic communication, knowledge, and reasoning are all explained by appeal to the practical activity of drawing distinctions according to public norms. Fa are models or standards that aid us in following such norms reliably. In ethics, they take the place of universal ethical principles in moral reasoning and in guiding action.

In epistemology, they are public criteria that guide distinction drawing and thus justify claims to knowledge. In semantic theory, they are part of the explanation of why words refer to what they do: a word is associated with a fa exemplar by convention and then refers to everything deemed relevantly similar to the fa. In reasoning or argument, a judgment is established or refuted by citing one or more fa and showing that the object of the judgment does or does not conform to the fa. It is thus interrelated with and dependent on a kind of practical knowing-how. The Mohist conception of knowledge is thus fundamentally practical, not representational or theoretical.

The object of knowledge is typically regarded as a kind of object or event, denoted by a term, rather than a proposition, expressed by a sentence. Grammatically, the verb zhi to know most often takes a noun or noun phrase as its object. The passage depicts the knowledge the blind possess of the colors white and black as, what we would characterize as, propositional knowledge. The Mohists ought to categorize knowledge more finely, the response would run, by distinguishing between knowing how to use names and knowing how to distinguish the referents of names.

Full mastery of a concept would presumably require both abilities. Nevertheless, in this earlier text, no value is attached to knowledge of names. What counts as genuine knowledge is the reliable ability to distinguish things in practice. For the Mohists, knowing x does not require knowing the definition, the essence, the meaning, the Platonic Form, nor a description of x. It requires only the practical ability to distinguish x from not- x. This pragmatic view of knowledge contrasts with the semantic orientation of the Greek tradition, as epitomized by Plato.

By contrast, the Mohists never ask what the essence or definition of yi righteousness is. They are concerned only with the problem of how to reliably distinguish yi from not- yi. This problem can be solved, they assume, by finding appropriate models for drawing the distinction and teaching everyone to apply or emulate them. Such models may have a utilitarian, empirical basis; they may rest on independent moral grounds; or they may be based simply on the conviction that the actions of exemplary moral agents, such as Tian Heaven and the ancient sage-kings, cannot be wrong.

The Mohist conception of knowledge includes no explicit element corresponding to the justification component in the traditional Western analysis of knowledge as justified true belief. Instead, the Mohists seem to treat knowledge simply as correct judgment, which they understand as correct distinction drawing. Knowledge is not merely drawing a distinction correctly in one case or another, but a reliable ability or disposition to draw distinctions correctly in a variety of cases over time. A plausible account of the purpose of the justification component in the traditional tripartite analysis of knowledge is that it disqualifies accidentally true beliefs — beliefs that happen to be true, but are based on no good reason — from counting as knowledge.

The Mohists handle this issue implicitly, by acknowledging only reliably correct distinction drawing as knowledge. Here again, their conception of knowledge reflects their overall focus on practical performance. Fundamentally, for them knowledge is not a correspondence between a mental state and the world, but an ability to perform certain skills reliably and correctly. Accordingly, cognitive error — false assertion or belief — is not explained as inaccurate representation, as a lack of correspondence between assertion or belief and reality, or as a failure to grasp the unchanging reality behind shifting sensory appearances. The distinction between appearance and reality plays no role in Mohist thought and probably none in early Chinese thought as a whole.

Immorality is due to a failure to know how to distinguish right from wrong. Since, unlike the Mohist Canons, early Mohist texts do not treat the concept of knowledge explicitly, this interpretation is necessarily conjectural and incomplete. When we turn to the issue of justifying claims to knowledge, on the other hand, we are on firmer ground, for the Mohists present an explicit, though sketchy, theory based on the concept of fa models, standards.

In outline, the theory is this. The process of evaluating whether some statement or action is correct is thus one of evaluating whether the distinction on which it is based is has been drawn properly. Conformity to the fa provides good grounds for accepting a claim, non-conformity for rejecting it. Three slightly different versions of this doctrine are found in the Mozi , one in each of the three denunciations of fatalism books 35— For brevity, we will discuss only the first version. The three fa are that statements must have a root , a source , and a use.

The Mohists regularly appeal to these three criteria when justifying their core doctrines. When questions of existence are at stake, as when arguing for the existence of ghosts or the nonexistence of fate, they apply all three standards. In arguing against fatalism, for example, they contend that 1 historical examples show that security and order depend on government policy, not fate: the ancient sage kings achieved peace and security under the same social conditions in which the tyrants brought turmoil and danger.

Similarly, in arguing for the existence of ghosts and spirits who reward the good and punish the wicked, the Mohists point out that 1 the sage kings all venerated the ghosts and spirits; 2 countless well-known stories report cases in which ghosts have been seen and heard; and 3 the teaching that ghosts and spirits reward the worthy and punish the wicked has beneficial social consequences, as fear of punishment will deter people from wrongdoing.

In contexts where empirical support is irrelevant, only the first and third standards are applied. In condemning elaborate musical shows, for instance, the writers contend that levying taxes to pay for expensive musical instruments contradicts the deeds of the sage-kings, who would tax the people only to pay for practical items such as boats and carts, which benefit everyone. Grand concerts and feasts are pleasant, but on balance they do not benefit the populace, since they interfere with work and waste resources that could otherwise be devoted to food and clothing. How are the three fa themselves justified? The texts that present the theory do not say, but the Mohists probably view the third standard, benefit to society, as an application of their moral theory, which they justify by appeal to the model of Heaven, or nature.

That appeal they might justify in turn by independent moral criteria such as impartiality, benevolence, and reliability, as we suggested briefly in the section on objective standards. Critics who reject the Mohist normative theory thus may find this fa objectionable as well. As to the second standard, what people see and hear, the Mohists offer no defense. They may have an inchoate theory of sense perception that explains why the second standard is reliable, but there is little or no discussion of such issues in early Mohist texts.

This habit was grounded in the assumption that the ancient sage-kings were dependable ethical exemplars and, in some cases, that they were the originators of the relevant normative practices. Such appeals are to some extent defensible, as they can be thought of as an appeal to experience — to norms and practices that were found ethically and practically satisfactory by wise, fair leaders in the past. Still, later Warring States thinkers will rightly question whether policies developed under ancient social conditions remain applicable today and whether we can even be sure what those policies were.

Concerns can be raised about the vagueness of the three standards, the potential for disagreement about their interpretation and application, and the extent to which the Mohists apply them fairly and rigorously does belief in ghosts really satisfy the second and third standards? Moreover, the Mohists seem to overlook the possibility of conflicts between the three, such as the likelihood that certain practices of the ancient sage-kings might not benefit society today. The priority of the third standard is a striking feature of the Mohist theory, for it entails that in at least some circumstances, they advocate applying a utilitarian criterion to resolve not only normative questions but descriptive ones as well.

They use this pair of pronouns to refer to right and wrong in an extremely general sense, without distinguishing between different notions of correctness and error as they bear on describing, ordering, recommending, permitting, or choosing, or on issues that to us fall into areas as diverse as science, politics, ethics, prudence, and etiquette. We might say that the Mohists are applying a very basic, primitive conception of correctness, of which truth, obligation, permissibility, and other notions are species. The crucial point is probably that their main theoretical focus is not descriptive truth, but the proper dao way by which to guide social and personal life. This focus on dao leads them to run together the empirical question of whether ghosts exist with the normative question of whether we should act on and promulgate the teaching that they do.

The doctrine of the three models thus reflects the pragmatic orientation of their thought, in particular the assumption, common to many early Chinese thinkers, that the primary purpose of language and judgment is to guide action appropriately, rather than to describe facts. This pragmatic orientation led Hansen , to propose that we should not treat the Mohists or other early Chinese theorists as addressing the semantic issue of whether a claim is true, but the pragmatic or normative one of whether a certain way of using words is appropriate. Thus the first standard, the deeds of the sage-kings, serves as a historical precedent of normatively correct usage, which complements the straightforwardly normative appeal to utility in the third standard.

Hansen suggests that in general we should avoid interpreting early Chinese discussions about the proper way to distinguish shi from fei as concerned with issues of truth. Again, it is unlikely that early Mohist texts fully distinguish questions of descriptive truth as a category separate from normative ethical or political questions. Their theoretical orientation tends to merge the two under the broader rubric of the proper dao by which to discriminate shi from fei.

As rule of thumb, we probably benefit more by distinguishing shi from fei on empirical grounds, when relevant, rather than on the basis of historical precedent or short-term utility. Also, in practice, it is unlikely that the alleged social benefits could motivate doubters to sincerely act as if ghosts exist or to follow a moral code based partly on the existence of things they cannot experience. The Mohists do not investigate formal logic or develop a notion of logical consequence. Rather, since they see judgment as a matter of distinguishing whether something is one kind of thing or another, they tend to conceive of all reasoning on the model of informal, analogical inference.

Particular pieces of reasoning in Mohist texts may be deductive, inductive, analogical, or causal. But the Mohists themselves seem to regard all of these as different ways of applying fa to draw distinctions between similar and dissimilar kinds of things. Their basic model of reasoning can be thought of as comprising three parts. So what we think of as the major premise in a syllogistic piece of reasoning, the Mohists probably see as citing a fa. What we think of as drawing a conclusion, they see as distinguishing whether or not something is the same kind of thing as the fa.

The three fa method of argument is one application of this general type of argument by example or analogy. But the three fa are not the only standards or models the Mohists employ. They regularly cite others, such as the behavior of the paradigmatic benevolent person ren ren or filial son xiao zi. Many Mohist arguments proceed by establishing such a model or example and then contending that Mohist doctrine conforms to it, and is thus correct. The text goes on to argue that the doctrine of inclusive care promotes benefit to all and so conforms to the standard set by the benevolent person. Thus inclusive care is benevolent and righteous.

A second example is the chief argument against extravagant funerals Book Both the inclusive care argument and the funerals argument illustrate another common Mohist rhetorical strategy: tracing the causal consequences of a doctrine or policy, typically to show that Mohist doctrine yields results that tally with some standard while an opposing doctrine does not. Mohist political thought begins with a distinctive, fascinating state of nature account of the origin and justification of the state.

Since for the Mohists yi is inherently social and shared, each person condemns values different from her own as morally wrong. The plurality of moral standards thus leads to contention, belligerence, and wasted resources. For simplicity, we will quote mainly from the first of the three versions of the theory, which describes the state of primal anarchy in this way:.

The root of this chaos, as the Mohists see it, is the absence of political leaders who will unify moral standards and thus put an end to contention and animosity. The texts do not explain how the ruler is selected, nor, given their differences, how people manage to agree on who qualifies as the most worthy candidate. No social contract is envisioned. The texts pass over the question of how, given this shared commitment to utilitarian social order, the people developed such diverse conceptions of morality in the first place.

For the Mohists, then, the purpose of government is to achieve a stable social order by promulgating a unified conception of morality. The central task of the state is moral education, training everyone to reliably conform to the same moral standards in judgment and action. This is the basis for such other aims as national defense, public security, economic management, and social welfare. The responsibility of the state for moral education is a distinctive theme of classical Chinese thought, prominent in both Mohism and Confucianism and much criticized in Daoist texts.

These lords in turn appoint other officials down to the level of the district, village, or clan head, until a complete hierarchical political system is established. Then the work of unifying moral standards begins. The main technique adopted for this task is model emulation. This moral guidance is reinforced by social and behavioral incentives. Those who conform and do good are praised, rewarded, and promoted; those who do not are censured and punished.

For the Mohists, rewards and punishments are justified instrumentally, by their role in encouraging good behavior and discouraging bad. What superiors deem right shi , all must deem right; what superiors deem wrong fei , all must deem wrong. If superiors commit errors, admonish them; if subordinates do good, recommend them. This is what superiors will reward and subordinates will praise. Officials on each level of the political hierarchy repeat a variant of these instructions to their subordinates, urging them to model themselves on the good example set by the judgments, speech, and conduct of the leader on the next level up.

Moral wisdom and a virtuous character are thus crucial qualifications for political leadership. The village head leads his village to emulate the district head, who in turn leads his district to emulate the lord of the state. The lords of states lead their people to emulate the Son of Heaven, who brings order to all under heaven. The Son of Heaven is still fallible, however, and so cannot be the highest moral paragon.

Above him is Heaven Tian , to which the people must ultimately conform. A distinctive feature of the theory is that, as might be expected from the practical orientation of Mohist thought, moral education is regarded as akin to teaching a practical skill, such as how to speak a language. It is accomplished primarily by emulating the judgments and conduct of moral exemplars, specifically how they distinguish right shi from not fei and act accordingly. The basic source of moral guidance is thus practical training in social norms, which people are expected to master and extend to new cases. Of course, sometimes they will set forth explicit fa models, rules , as when the Son of Heaven issues the original order for everyone to identify upward.

But moral education is not seen primarily as a matter of inculcating knowledge of rules, theoretical knowledge of the good, nor the reflective habit of testing the maxims on which one acts against the moral law. It is seen mainly as a kind of skill training. The outcome of such training will be virtues, reliable dispositions to distinguish right from not correctly in speech and action. Aspects of the Mohist political system are plausible and psychologically insightful.

Consensus in moral judgments is indeed likely to yield social order, and moral education is probably a more effective device for ensuring compliance with ethical standards than laws and punishments alone. Most people probably are motivated to do what they think is right, and moral education may be an effective tool for channeling their good intentions. Model emulation is indeed a powerful educational process, as any parent knows, and many of our values and judgments are in fact learned by following the example of admired role models. Social coherence, peer pressure, and the approval of superiors are important motivational factors even for critical, reflective adults.

The system might succeed in achieving a high degree of social order and stability, which would benefit everyone in society. The success of the system depends heavily on the moral character of the rulers. What if their judgment is wrong or misinformed? How can they be prevented from abusing their power by imposing pernicious, self-serving norms? The Mohists have several answers, of varying persuasiveness. The first is their version of the traditional Chinese doctrine that the sovereign rules by the mandate of Heaven tian ming. Heaven will punish a corrupt ruler by causing him to be overthrown.

Second, the sovereign and other leaders do not create the standards of right and wrong, but only exemplify, teach, and enforce them. Independent moral standards are provided by Mohist ethical theory, to which subordinates can appeal if their leaders are mistaken or corrupt. The unified moral norms will disintegrate, rewards and punishments will lose their effectiveness, and disorder will ensue. A further worry is that the Mohist political system implements a kind of command morality, in which subordinates do nothing but mindlessly follow their leaders, who decide for them what is right and wrong. As one of the oldest civilizations in the world, China has a rich and carefully cultivated culture. One of the most well-known China facts: it has the largest population of any country at 1,,, people and counting.

In Ancient China, chopsticks were invented and used for cooking. Because of their length, they were perfect for reaching into pots of hot water or oil. The Chinese government owns all the pandas you see in zoos. The red in the flag symbolizes revolution, while the red and yellow represent fire and earth, respectively. The stars represent the unity of the people and the leadership of the Communist Party of China. The big star is the symbol for the communist government and the four small stars stand for the peasants, workers, middle-class citizens, and soldiers.

Located in East Asia, China covers approximately 9,, square kilometers 3,, sq mi. This makes China the 3rd-largest country in the world by area. The Han dynasty established this road in CE. Out of the largest statues in the world, China has the most at 35 statues. This is followed by India at 25 statues. The Spring Temple Buddha in the Lushan county of Henan, China stands at m ft and is the second-largest statue in the whole world. In , the first artificially reproduced human tooth was created in China. The scientists were able to create the tooth using stem cells extracted from human urine.

The Great Wall of China originally acted as a barrier to protect the country from nomadic groups and invaders. The Great Wall also regulated trade along the Silk Road, and served as a means to monitor immigration. The great structure stands at 20 ft — 46 ft and stretches at a length of The Ancient Chinese civilization used water energy for powering machines. These waterwheels were also the first known source of power before electricity. However, the walls built in the Ming Dynasty are the most well-known portions of the wall. During the Tang dynasty that ruled between and , China invented paper money. There used to be a warning written right on the bills that all counterfeiters would be decapitated.

Throughout Ancient China, various dynasties fought for control over the country until the first emperor Qin Shi Huang united them in BC. The forbidden city prohibits any commoner to enter without authorization during the dynasty era. Above all, the city is only for the imperial families and high officials. In December , Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Realme are all Chinese phone companies that dominate the mobile phone market. The Huizhou Ancient Town is a famous historical and cultural city in southern Anhui Province with over years of history.

The area was also known for manufacturing writing utensils. The city also became popular in the late Ming dynasty for publishing texts on a wide range of topics, including genealogy, classical literature, and illustrated novels and dramas. Thus, historical periods in China have names of the family or clan that ruled during that time, beginning with the Bronze Age Shang dynasty. For instance, some dynasties have lasted for centuries like the Ming dynasty. Although scholars consider it the first known dynasty in China, the Xia dynasty has no surviving records.

However, it is believed that the legendary Yu the Great founded the Xia dynasty. People of the Shang dynasty used calendars and had knowledge of astronomy and math that was ahead of their time. As a feat usually done by cartoon or comic book characters, traveling to China underground is possible in theory — but not so much in practice. Underground conditions such as heat, pressure, and lack of oxygen are just one of the few realities that keep this cartoonish concept just that — a concept for cartoons.

After defeating the Shang dynasty in the Battle of Muye, the Zhou Dynasty became the longest-reigning dynasty in Chinese history: ruling the country for about years. Its focus on irrigation and water-control projects helped increase crop production for their era. Although food connoisseurs still debate whether pasta originated from China or Europe, the former still holds the world record for the longest noodle in the world. The noodle measures 10, ft 1. It was created by Xiangnian Food Co. You may have seen fact sites claiming that the Great Wall is the only man-made structure visible from space, but this is actually not the case. According to the Apollo astronauts, the Great Wall cannot be seen from space. However, city lights at night, roads, and the Pyramids of Giza are said to be visible.

Reigning from BC to AD, the Han dynasty was the first to appoint officials based on skills rather than blood. Thus, the Han dynasty made way for the establishment of Confucianism. Just as the Han dynasty entered a period of political turmoil, epidemics and viruses began to weaken the Han Dynasty. As a result, many of the officials lost control and the ability to command the people which caused major problems throughout the dynasty. Or at least it is in Chinese media.

The Chinese government bans any movie with aspects of time travel. For the Chinese government, altering historical events are a dangerous element of fiction. The Sui dynasty has united China again under a single leadership. Moreover, the Great Wall was also expanded and the Grand Canal longest and oldest artificial river in the world was constructed under its dynasty.

They also built storehouses for the threshed grain that provided China a stable source of affordable food during famine years. Above all, the economy was generally stable during their era. The failed military campaigns against Goguryeo caused the fall of the Sui dynasty. These losses have ruined the country. China underwent vast growth in terms of music , literature, and engineering during this period. Ruling from — , the Song dynasty led China to innovations such as gunpowder and the compass. China became the world leader in science and technology during this time and improved the agriculture sector.

The economy became stable and multiple job opportunities opened for the people through the handicraft industry. Despite all its advancements, Song dynasty grew weaker and weaker due to political corruption. This dynasty fell when it joined forces with the Mongols to face their enemies, the Jins. However, the leader of the Mongols, Kublai Khan turned on them, conquered all of China and began the Yuan dynasty. Specifically, the officials created a Chinese-style administration that featured centralized bureaucracy, rationalized taxation system and political subdivisions. In , Zhu Yuanzhang launched a devastating attack on the Yuan dynasty. Unlike the early dynasty leaders of China, the Mongols were never totally Sinicized or influenced by Chinese culture.

This ultimately became a factor in the downfall of the Yuan dynasty and the start of the Ming dynasty. Above all, they continued to maintain their isolation from the indigenous population and used foreigners to run the government bureaucracy. The Ming dynasty ruled from to During this time, China was the largest economy in the world with more literate people than any other country. Many construction projects were undertaken including the completion of the Great Wall of China and building the Forbidden City. This dynasty became one of the most stable of all Chinese dynasties, but also one of the most autocratic a system of government in which a single person possesses absolute power. Beijing, China fell to a rebel army led by Li Zicheng, a former minor Ming officer who became the leader of the peasant revolt in The revolt successfuly ended the Ming dynasty and signalled the start of the Shun dynasty.

The Qing dynasty was founded in and governed China from to The Qing dynasty era progressed in many fields, including art, literature, and printing. This is also the era when the Chinese grew its population massively. However, the Qing dynasty was the last imperial dynasty ever established in China. Although the Qing dynasty ruled for years, the great Qing fell rapidly in its last few years due to corruption, unhealthy relationship with the peasants, and incompetence. Consequently, the sudden burst of the population also caused many problems such as food shortages.

Davis, translator. Scuola italiana di studi sull'Asia Quotes From Frankensteins Monster. Liao —