This text discusses the Chinese Legalists, an ancient school of Chinese philosophy which flourished during the Period of the Hundred Contending Schools (6th-3rd century B.C.E.) The school perfected the science of government and art of statecraft to a level that would have greatly impressed Machiavelli. This period and its personalities, as well as a taste of the style and spirit of the Legalists' discourse, are made accessible to the student and general reader, placing into focus the roots of the great Chinese philosophy-as-statecraft tradition. The Legalists - most famously Li Kui, Shang Yang, Shen Buhai, Shen Dao, and Han Fei - had a great impact not only on the institutions and practices of Chinese imperial tradition but also on the Maoist totalitarianism of the People's Republic of China.
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Fully accessible to students and scholars alike, this engaging book introduces the constructivist approach to understanding world affairs. In a highly readable and witty way, it shows how people and their social relations are the basis for everything around us -- International Relations included.