This chapter examines Han Feizi. This text was named after Han Fei, a prolific philosopher who was executed on trumped-up charges in 233 BC. Although Han Fei is probably responsible for the lion's share of the extant Han Feizi, this does not permit readers to identify the philosophy of Han Fei himself with the philosophy (or philosophies) advanced in the Han Feizi, as though these were necessarily the same thing. The case of Han Fei and the Han Feizi is more complex because Han Fei was slippery. What Han Fei said varied with his expected audience, a point that scholarship has not always accounted for. Most of his chapters are addressed to kings; at least one, “The Difficulties of Persuasion” (“Shuinan”), is addressed to ministers; and for many chapters one can only guess at the intended audience.
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