In general, how did Hanfeizi's beliefs differ from those of Confucius?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In general, Hanfeizi was less positive about human nature than Confucius was.  He was also less willing to trust in tradition and wanted, instead, to have specific written laws to govern behaviors.

Hanfeizi did not believe that people were inherently good the way that Confucius did.  He believed that people are generally selfish and likely to commit crimes.  To stop them from doing this, the rulers have to make clear laws and then harshly punish anyone who disobeys them.

For this same reason, Hanfeizi did not believe in tradition like Confucius did.  He said that tradition was too vague and arbitrary.  Instead, there needed to be very clear laws so people could know for sure what they should and should not do.

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