The Three Philosophies
China has one of the longest histories in ancient world history. As civilization developed, so did ideas about religion, knowledge, values, society, and the world. Three of the most famous ones were the Confucianism, Legalism, and Daoism. There are many different and similar ideas in these three philosophies.
Confucianism has many characteristics and ideas for life and social order. It came from the teachings of a Chinese philosopher named Confucius, or Kongzi. His students recorded all his teachings in a book called the Analects, which mainly focused on social and family relationships (4). Confucius believed that respect for others was necessary for peace within society. Confucius thought that human nature is morally neutral, and it is peoples' choices in their later lives that determine if they are good or bad (1). Two of Confucius's students, Mencius and Xunzi, argued about whether humans are born good or evil. Mencius believed that humans are inevitably good (1). If one is bad, or “lacks a mind that knows right and wrong,” one would not even be considered human (1). Xunzi's ideas were more similar to Legalists, who thought that humans were naturally evil. Confucius believed that everyone had his/her own Dao, the way to proper behavior (3). If everyone followed his/her Dao, and were respectful to others, social order would follow.
Legalism had very different ideas from Confucianism. Instead of respect for others, Legalists believed that strict laws and harsh punishments were the key to social order. What's different from Xunzi's ideas and Legalism was that Legalists thought humans were born evil (4), while Xunzi thought that humans may be born good, but will always turn out bad (1). Legalists disagreed with many of Confucius's ideas. For example, they didn't think that the universe has a moral core and everything will end up good. Legalists thought that only firm action with strict laws from the government would bring social order...
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