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Taoism vs. Confucianism. Confucianism A system of thought representing “conventional values” social-minded represents a higher form of moralism optimistic rationalism Humanism: humaneness ( ren ) and righteousness ( yi ) family ethics ritualization of life.

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taoism vs confucianism
Taoism vs. Confucianism
  • Confucianism
    • A system of thought representing “conventional values”
    • social-minded
    • represents a higher form of moralism
    • optimistic rationalism
    • Humanism: humaneness (ren) and righteousness (yi)
    • family ethics
    • ritualizationof life
confucian views of men and society
Confucian Views of Men and Society
  • a sage ruler (sage king) is needed to keep social and political order
  • Man is the center of this mundane world
  • gentlemen (junzi) in gov’t to help rule the state
  • good government brings about good society
good individuals: humane and righteous
  • rites and music:
    • sacrifice and ritual
    • rules and regulations
  • family is the base of society and state
    • ethics and order
    • Education
  • Humanism
taoism based on ttc and ct
Taoism (based on TTC and CT)
  • Taoism/Daoism valued speculative thought
    • Questioned and sometimes repudiated Confucian values
    • rejected all other “artificial devices” of civilization
    • mocked ritual and propriety and decried group conventions
    • pessimistic about society
      • man is not capable of keeping order and safety in society
      • social man is a misguided being
    • sought nature as refuge from man’s world
    • scorned government, feared progress and civilization
    • wary of technical skills
    • naturalism
taoist critique of confucianism
Taoist Critique of Confucianism
  • Confucian Virtues and regulations
    • humaneness and righteousness
      • like web-toes, extra-fingers, and other physical superfluity
      • not a part of human nature; their existence is of no meaningful value
      • not attributes of humanity because they were used to pursue honor and wealth, thus were the sources of greed
      • along with the rites and music, caused confusions in the world
      • what made people “superior men”; what caused people to twist their nature and die for
    • Good person
      • one who accepts the given characteristics and knows his/her own self
lao tzu s critique of confucianism
Lao-tzu’s Critique of Confucianism
  • The person of superior integrity
    • Does not insist upon (display) his integrity.
  • The person of inferior integrity
    • Never loses sight of his integrity;
  • For this reason, he lacks integrity.
  • The person of superior integrity takes no action
    • Nor has he a purpose for acting
  • The person of superior humaneness takes action,
    • But has no purpose for acting
  • The person of superior righteousness takes no action
    • And has a purpose for acting
The person of superior etiquette takes action
    • But others do not respond to him;
  • Whereupon he rolls up his sleves and coerces them
  • When the Way is lost, afterward comes integrity.
  • When integrity is lost, afterward comes humaneness.
  • When humaneness is lost, afterward comes righteousness.
  • When the righteousness is lost, afterward comes etiquette.
  • Etiquette is the attenuation of trustworthiness,
    • And the source of disorder .
  • Foreknowledge is but the blossomy ornament of the Way,
    • And the source of ignorance.

(TTC/ddj, 1/38)

Let there be a small state with few people,
    • Where military devices find no use;
  • Let the people look solemnly upon death,
    • And banish the thought of moving elsewhere.
  • They may have carts and boats,
    • But there is no reason to ride them;
  • They may have armor and weapons,
    • But they have no reason to display them.
  • Let the people go back to tying knots to keep records
  • Let their food be savory, their clothes beautiful, their customs pleasurable, [and] their dwellings secure.
  • Though they may gaze across at a neighboring state,
    • And hear the sounds of its dogs and chickens,
  • The people will never travel back and forth,
    • Till they die of old age.

(TTC/DDJ, 30/80)

To Taoists, Confucian pursuit of knowledge
    • interfered with the innate characteristics of things
    • created distinction between men and other beings
      • men separated themselves from the birds and the beasts
      • treated the birds and the beasts as their possessions
    • created mechanic devices to hunt (or kill) animals and nature
    • complicated life, provoked debates, and divided people and all creatures
      • life should be as simple as “the simplicity of unhewn log”
    • caused contention for profits and fame
    • did not help people to realize and appreciate the Tao, but would move people away from the Tao
more critiques
More critiques
  • Confucian sages
    • the source of troubles in this world
    • created more harms than benefits
      • people do bad things in the name of humaneness and righteousness
    • the world would be in peace without the sage
      • abandon wisdom and abolish sagehood
      • forsake outer form and cultivate inner virtues
was taoism a school
Was Taoism a “School”?
  • Problems of Traditional Taxonomies
    • no clear indication of community in strict sense of the word
      • Unclear about schools, master-disciple transmission
      • Show only individuals and fragmentation of transmission over generation
    • inevitably misinterpreted classical teachings
      • argued for the writers’ favorable system of thought.
      • likely to engage in “the invention of tradition”
      • inaccurately identified tradition, for instance, grouping Huangdi and Laozi as Huang-Lao school.
Claims of revealed texts (in Han times) were often connected to Daoism
    • What defines Daoism?
      • the knowledge of natural categories
      • the manipulation of yin-yang correlations,
      • the concepts of self-cultivation taught by Laozi and Zhuangzi
      • empirical knowledge of plants and herbs, etc.
  • Did a Confucian community, Ru community, exist as was told by Han historian? What defines their identity?
    • Their ritual criteria of value vs. economic criteria of value.
other schools
Other Schools?
  • Did a Mohist community exist?
  • What defines Mohist community?
    • Strong sense of communal life;
    • Community stood as a big family characterized by strict hierarchy and sense of brotherhood.
    • Sacrifice for the community was encouraged.
    • The community maintained its own legal code separate from the state
    • Stressed military defense skills for self-protection and survival