Taoism (Daoism) and Confucianism are two of the most ancient, deeply rooted philosophies of the Eastern world. Arising in China within the same time period, the two philosophies are a likely reflection of the social instability and political conflict which marked the final centuries of the Chou and Warring States Period (Roberts 143). While the two schools of thought are noticeably distinct, Taoism and Confucianism both profoundly impacted Chinese society through the pursuit of harmony within the Chinese way of life.
The philosophical principles of both Taoism and Confucianism are attributed to the ideas of individual men in Chinese history, and their subsequent texts. Confucianism was the first of the two to attract attention by the concepts of well known thinker, K’ung-fu-tzu, or his European name, Confucius (Roberts 143). Unsatisfied with the ruling practices of the government, Confucius sought to reform the ways of corruption to the fundamental ways of order and moral truth. The philosopher believed that prior to his time, there had been natural inclination towards individual integrity, which lied in the roots of his present society. Through teaching, he aimed to restore structural ideals to create political and social harmony. His wisdom is recorded in texts known as the Thirteen Classics, which later served to shape centuries of Chinese political leaders to the perceived standards of Confucius. Unlike Confucius, however, there is little known of the founder of the Eastern philosophy of Taoism, Lao-Tse. Though, like Confucius, he was believed to be the main influence in the infiltration of his philosophy into the wide reaching audience of Chinese culture. Lao-Tse is the presumable author of the Tao Te Ching, a series of versus composing the sacred Taoist text (Mannion 173).
To restore balance and harmony following the unstable era of the Warring rule, the principles of Taoism and Confucianism sought to achieve a similar objective, but through...
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