Immunity to Temptation - 'Power' in Chinese Language

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    While Plato is concerned with limiting the excesses of power, Laozi, at least in the understanding of the Han commentator, defines the preconditions for absolute power as immunity to temptation. Laozi’s formula became a central idea of kingly rule within Legalist thought, the philosophy embraced by the emperor Qin Shi Huang, founder of the Qin dynasty in 221 BCE. The evolution of ideas and language around the notion of ‘power’ that led to today’s most common term for power, quanli 权力 (權力 in traditional characters) is remarkable: and not only for the continuity between Laozi’s ancient idea of absolute power and the political agenda of Xi Jinping.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationChina Story Yearbook 2018: Power
    Editors J Golley, L Jaivin, P J Farrelly & S Strange
    Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
    PublisherANU Press
    ISBN (Print)9781760462802
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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