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Legal Philosophy of 'The Human Models the Heaven(人法天)' in Ancient China

  • DONG-A LAW REVIEW
  • 2012, (54), pp.1-38
  • Publisher : The Institute for Legal Studies Dong-A University
  • Research Area : Social Science > Law

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1전남대학교

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ABSTRACT

Natural law theory as contrasted with legal positivism has long been recognized as one major theme of scholarly discussion in the Western history of legal philosophy. In oriental traditional legal culture, it has been universal that the human models or shall model the Heaven or the Nature. The traditional concept of ‘Heaven(天)’ has various meanings, such as the sky, the nature, the God, and the truth(Tao: 道). Therefore, the thought that the human models the Heaven can be understood as the base of oriental natural law theory. In line with these viewpoints, this paper tries to analyze several classics and major schools of thought in ancient China, which cover the Five Classics including the Book of Songs(the Shi Ching: 詩經), the Book of History(the Shu Ching: 書經), the Book of Changes(the I Ching: 易經), Chunqiu Zuozhuan(春秋左傳) and Liji(禮記) ; Taoism including Laozi(老子), Zhuangzi(莊子) and Guanyunzi(關尹子); Confucianism including Confucius(孔子), Mencius(孟子) and Xünzi(荀子); Mozi(墨子), Guanzi(管子) and others. In the authorized histories of the Chinese dynasties, these philosophical flows have been emphatically utilized as the primary guide of general legislation as well as administration of justice. I hope that this paper become a small and meaningful profit to the study of the traditional legal history and philosophy as well as the comparative study between the Eastern and Western natural law theory or philosophy in future.

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