legalism daoism and confucius timeline

legalism daoism and confucius timeline

Lao-Tzu. A depiction of Lao-Tzu, the founder of Daoism.
Mohism emerged around the same time as the other philosophies discussed here, under the philosopher Mozi (c. 470-391 BCE). The most well-known concept under Mohism was “impartial care,” also known as “universal love.” This meant that people should care equally about other people, regardless of their true relationship to that person. This opposed the ideas of Confucianism, which said that love should be greater for close relationships. Mohism also stressed the ideas of self-restraint, reflection and authenticity.

The Legalists believed that political institutions should be modeled in response to the realities of human behaviour and that human beings are inherently selfish and short-sighted. Thus social harmony cannot be assured through the recognition by the people of the virtue of their ruler, but only through strong state control and absolute obedience to authority. The Legalists advocated government by a system of laws that rigidly prescribed punishments and rewards for specific behaviours. They stressed the direction of all human activity toward the goal of increasing the power of the ruler and the state. The brutal implementation of this policy by the authoritarian Qin dynasty led to that dynasty’s overthrow and the discrediting of Legalist philosophy in China.
The three main precepts of these Legalist philosophers are the strict application of widely publicized laws (fa), the application of such management techniques (shu) as accountability (xingming) and “showing nothing” (wuxian), and the manipulation of political purchase (shi).

Zhou Dynasty (c. 1050-256 BCE)

  • Confucius (551-479 BCE) emphasizes moral cultivation of individuals, service to the state, and leadership by ethical, educated men.
  • Confucian thought builds on the fundamental Chinese world view of this time (that there is a universal order and it is moral, that men must find, preserve, and promote this order and rulers rule with the “Mandate of Heaven” to preserve it). In keeping with the values of universal order, Confucius propagates this world view and stresses the values of 1) filial piety, or respect of children for their parents (family and hierarchy); 2) humanity and 3) the importance of ritual — state rituals and family rituals — for preserving universal order.
  • Confucius believes that man is primarily a social being in a set of relationships and that men must educate and cultivate themselves so that their behavior will be consonant with the moral order and they will be able to serve the state as moral leaders.

The “I Ching” (or “Book of Changes” ) was traditionally compiled by the mythical figure Fu Xi in the 28th Century B.C. , although modern research suggests that it more likely dates to the late 9th Century B.C. The text describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy that is intrinsic to ancient Chinese cultural beliefs, centering on the ideas of the dynamic balance of opposites , the evolution of events as a process , and acceptance of the inevitability of change . It consists of a series of symbols , rules for manipulating these symbols, poems and commentary, and is sometimes regarded as a system of divination .
During the Qin Dynasty (also known as the Imperial Era ), after the unification of China in 221 B.C. , Legalism became ascendant at the expense of the Mohist and Confucianist schools, although the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 220) adopted Taoism and later Confucianism as official doctrine. Along with the gradual parallel introduction of Buddhism, these two schools have remained the determining forces of Chinese thought up until the 20th Century.

Legalism daoism and confucius timeline
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