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Master of Arts (M.A.)

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Xunzi, Political Philosophy, Statecraft, Warring States Period, Pragmatism


The chapter “Regulations of a King” 王制 illustrates a new pragmatic form of governance through morality around five issues. First, the chapter practically discusses three modes of statecraft, detailing which mode of statecraft is most effective and why. Next, it discusses the importance of the existence of law fa 法. Third, it transforms the concept of ritual as a tool of governance and an extension of law. Fourth, it describes rewards and punishments as political tools to reinforce an educational and transformational program for moral quality. Finally, it discusses perhaps the most unique tool of governance, definitive judgment lei 類. Through the examination of these five issues in “Regulations of a King”, I intend to show that the chapter “Regulations of a King” illustrates a new pragmatic form of governance through morality by displaying a more practical style of rhetoric and political tools for effective administering of a state.


First Advisor

David K. Schneider

Second Advisor

Enhua Zhang