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Three Chinese Philosophies Confucianism Daoism Legalism
Long, Long Ago, During the Zhou DynastyIn a Middle KingdomFar, Far Away . . .
Lived a Scholar Named Confucius! • Name: Kungfu Tze • From a lower noble family • Sought a government official job • Goal: A Peaceful, Harmonious Society
Basic Confucian Beliefs • Man is good, if good examples are set for him • Filial Piety - devotion, loyalty to family • Obedience and respect for authority • Education is the only equalizer • Rulers should lead by setting a good example
Confucius said: Do not do to others what you would not want done to you
FILIAL PIETY “A Son should not stray far from his parents while they are alive . . . parents, when alive, should be served according to ritual; when dead, they should be buried according to ritual; they should be sacrificed to according to ritual."
Five Key Relationships • Ruler and Subject • Husband and Wife • Parent and Child • Older and Younger Sibling • Friends • Unequal Relationships (Kow Tow) Confucius believed that if people performed their familial roles properly, they would perform their roles in society and government properly.
Confucius: In education there is no class distinction. • But in ancient China only the sons of wealthy nobles could have the opportunity to become educated.
Confucius said: “If the Ruler is upright, then the People will be upright”. The emperor's role was like that of a father: he would love his subjects as if they were his children, and they in turn would show loyalty and respect for him. Remember the Mandate of Heaven? What were signs that a ruler was NOT upright and had lost the Mandate?
Impact of Confucianism • After his death, Confucius’ disciples wrote his sayings in “The Analects” • During the Han dynasty, it became the basis of Chinese government bureaucracy (civil service exams were based on Confucian ideas and ancient Chinese books) • It influenced social life, government and education for over 2000 years.
Communists tried to end Confucian ideas in the Mao era • Children were encouraged to denounce parents who were capitalist or Western. • The government wanted loyalty to the state, not the family. • Yet in both Confucianism and Communism loyalty to an authority or group is important. • Confucianism was not successfully ended by Mao.
So What is Daoism? • Lao Zi (Lao Tze) lived in the Zhou dynasty as well • It was a period of warring states, so he, too, wanted a philosophy to bring peace and harmony to China • He sought harmony through following the intuitive way of nature. . .
Lao Zi • Little is known about him • May have been a clerk in the imperial archives • Wrote the Dao de Jing “The Way and its Power” • Disappeared westward
What is the Dao? • is mysterious and profound; • cannot be explained in words; • is the source of all life; • is always in motion; • permeates everything but cannot be pinned down; • cannot be changed by humans; • can be a source of power for humans who act in accord with it.
Daoists • Have an intense love of nature and affirmation of life • Sought physical health, vitality, longevity and even immortality
Wu Wei • Just be • Take no specific action • Offer no resistance • Go with the flow of nature. • Emptiness
Chinese science and invention Math, Astronomy
Summary of Daoism Harmony with Nature Intuition
Legalism • Qin Dynasty Emperor Shuhuangdi • Great Wall linked • Centralized power • Allowed agriculture and war • Burnt all books
Han Feizi • Believed man is bad • Punishments must be harsh • Similar to Machiavelli in “The Prince”