Shang Yang Was a Cooperator: Applying Axelrod’s Analysis of Cooperation in Early China

  title={Shang Yang Was a Cooperator: Applying Axelrod’s Analysis of Cooperation in Early China},
  author={Charles Sanft},
  journal={Philosophy East and West},
  pages={174 - 191}
  • C. Sanft
  • Published 24 January 2014
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy East and West
Many scholars view Shang Yang as a philosopher of totalitarianism. This article argues for a reconsideration of that understanding. It is suggested that, despite Shang Yang’s reputation, elements of the governmental changes in the state of Qin that are credited to him would have promoted cooperation. To support this argument, this essay draws from Robert Axelrod’s analysis in The Evolution of Cooperation. An examination of the Shang Yang reforms in light of Axelrod’s suggestions for encouraging… 
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