Skip to main content

Prof. Lo, Ping Cheung

B.A. (National Taiwan University); Ph.D. (State University of New York at Buffalo); Ph.D. (Yale University)

Professor Emeritus, Department of Religion and Philosophy

Funding:

  • General Research Fund (GRF), Research Grant Council of Hong Kong 2016-17 (Project Number 12644816)
    HK$160,000 

Introduction

  • “Might makes right” is a layman’s tenet of realism in international relations.  This amoral realism is advocated not only by Western thinkers, but also by Chinese philosophers as well.  The book Hanfeizi contains the best example of realism in Chinese political thought. It was admired throughout Chinese history from the first Emperor of Qin to Mao Zedong. Realism has been used as an ideology to justify actively resorting to military violence for the defense of one’s country. But a realist can argue that the best defense is to run a good offense. Hence countries rising as great powers would actively use war as an instrument for pro-active self-defense. This leads to what John J. Mearsheimer calls “the tragedy of great power politics.” Han Fei’s legacy of offensive realism to China is similar to that of Thucydides, Thomas Hobbes and Machiavelli to the West.