FAH/PHIL Guest Lecture – “Unravelling the Han Feizi’s Dissection of the Laozi” by Prof. Eirik Lang Harris, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Prof. Eirik Lang Harris, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


20 Oct 2017


14:30 - 16:30





The “Jie Lao” chapter of the Han Feizi offers perhaps the earliest commentary on the Laozi. This chapter is notable for a variety of reasons. D.C. Lau has argued that we can see within it a metaphysics that bears interesting similarities to Plato’s theory of Forms, Hagop Sarkissian has argued that the philosophy therein is a blend of the ideas of Laozi and Mengzi, and Sarah Queen argues that the syncretism therein is devoid of ‘Legalist’ ideas. While there is much debate over whether the “Jie Lao” was written by Han Fei and the exact material of the Laozi that the author (whoever he was) had at his disposal, these are issues that will be left aside for another day. Rather, this talk will examine the following questions: 1) is there a reading of the “Jie Lao” chapter in which it is both internally consistent and consistent with the rest of the Han Feizi, 2) under such an interpretation, what use is being made of the Laozi, and 3) does anything of philosophical interest fall out of such an interpretation?


All are welcome




Philosophy and Religious Studies Programme
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