Episode

In Our Time

BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture, History

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History 15
Society & Culture 51

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of ideas

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Chinese Legalism

December 10th, 2015

Episode 481 of 522 episodes

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origins and rise of Legalism in China, from the start of the Warring States Period (c475 - 221 BC) to the time of The First Emperor Qin Shi Huang (pictured), down to Chairman Mao and the present day. Advanced by the Qin statesman Shang Yang and later blended together by Han Fei, the three main aspects of Legalism were the firm implementation of laws, use of techniques such as responsibility and inscrutability, and taking advantage of the ruler's position. The Han dynasty that replaced the Qin discredited this philosophy for its apparent authoritarianism, but its influence continued, re-emerging throughout Chinese history. With Frances Wood Former Curator of the Chinese Collections at the British Library Hilde de Weerdt Professor of Chinese History at Leiden University And Roel Sterckx Joseph Needham Professor of Chinese History at the University of Cambridge. Producer: Simon Tillotson.

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