Legalism (Chinese philosophy)

Legalism (Chinese: 法家; pinyin: Fǎjiā)[1] is one of Sima Tan's six schools of thought in Chinese philosophy.

This tradition emphasises practicality, and avoids moral questions. It has been compared to Realpolitik and Machiavelli. It has influenced Taoism and Confucianism, and is still influential today.

Shang Yang (390–338 BC) was a leading reformer of his time.[2] His ideas lay behind legalism.


  1. "【法家】 Fǎjiā {...}" 現代漢語詞典(第七版). Contemporary Chinese Dictionary, 7th ed. 商務印書舘. The Commercial Press. 2016. p. 354. ISBN 978-7-100-12450-8.
  2. Pines, Yuri Legalism in Chinese Philosophy. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 edition) [1]