Three Chinese Schools Of Thought Essay Research

Three Chinese Schools Of Thought Essay, Research Paper

The Three Schools Joseph Kemling

Chinese Civ

Essay 2

The three schools of thought-Confucian, Taoist, and Legalist, all have different positions and

grounds as to whether or non the United States should be involved in the struggle in Kosovo. Each

school perceived Tao in different ways and had different position? s on human nature. To see how

each school would take its side on this issue, we must foremost hold some background information on the


Confucius was one of the chief subscribers of the Confucian school of idea. He had one

overpowering message: if work forces are to accomplish a province of methodicalness and peace, they need to return to

traditional values of virtuousness. These values are based wholly on one construct: jen, which is best

translated as & # 8220 ; humaneness, & # 8221 ; but can besides intend & # 8220 ; humanity, & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; benevolence, & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; goodness, & # 8221 ; or & # 8220 ; virtue. & # 8221 ;

This humaneness is a comparatively unusual construct to Western eyes, because it is non chiefly a

operable virtuousness. Rather, the occupation of the & # 8220 ; gentleman, & # 8221 ; ch & # 8217 ; ? n tzu, was to concentrate on the highest

constructs of behaviour even when this is impractical or foolish. Like his coevalss, Confucius

believed that the human order in some manner reflected the Godhead order, or the forms of Eden. More

than anything, for Confucius the ancients understood the order and hierarchy of Eden and Earth ; as

a consequence, Confucius established the Chinese yesteryear as an infallible theoretical account for the present. ( Reader P.

81 )

What is incumbent on single people is to find the right form to populate and regulate

by ; this can be achieved by analyzing the sage-kings and their manner of life and authorities and by

following rites conscientiously, for the form of Eden is most explicitly inscribed on the assorted

rites, Li, prescribed for the behavior of mundane life. Neglecting ritual, or making rites falsely,

demonstrated a moral lawlessness or upset of the most crying sort. These heavenly forms were

besides inscribed in the forms of music and dance, Y? eh, so that order in this life could be attained by

apprehension and practising the order of traditional and grave music and dance. Music and dance

are talked about invariably in the Confucian Hagiographas. Why? Because traditional music and dance

absolutely embody the humaneness and wisdom of their composers, who understood absolutely the

order of the universe and Eden ; one can make within oneself this wisdom by decently executing this

music and dance. ( Reader p. 97 )

Taoism is, along with Confucianism, the most of import strain of Chinese thought through the

ages. It is about wholly different from Confucianism, but non contradictory. It ranges over wholly

different concerns, so that it is common for persons, philosophers, Chinese novels or movies, etc. , to

be both Confucianist and Taoist. The Taoist has no concern for personal businesss of the province, for mundane or

everyday affairs of disposal, or for luxuriant ritual ; instead Taoism encourages avoiding public

responsibility in order to seek for a vision of the nonnatural universe of the spirit. ( Website )

Taoism is based on the thought that behind all material things and all the alteration in the universe lies

one fundamental, cosmopolitan rule: the Way or Tao. This rule gives rise to all being and

governs everything, all alteration and all life. Behind the bewildering multiplicity and contradictions of

the universe lies a individual integrity, the Tao. The intent of human life, so, is to populate life harmonizing to the

Tao, which requires passiveness, composure, non-striving ( wu Wei ) , humbleness, and deficiency of planning, for to

program is to travel against the Tao.The text of Lao Tzu is chiefly concerned with portraying a theoretical account of

human life lived by the Tao ; later authors will emphasize more mystical and charming facets. But Lao Tzu

was, like Confucius, Mo Tzu, and Mencius, besides concerned with the nature of authorities ; he

believed unquestioningly in the thought that a authorities could besides be in conformity with the Tao.

What would such a authorities expression like? It would non pay war, it would non be complex, it would

non interfere in people & # 8217 ; s lives, it would non wallow in luxury and wealth, and, ideally, it would be

inactive, functioning chiefly as a usher instead than as a governor. There were people who tried to

translate Lao Tzu into existent political action during the Han dynasty ; these were, as you might conceive of,

dramatic failures. Taoism is often called in China, & # 8220 ; The Teachings of the Yellow Emperor

and Lao Tzu, & # 8221 ; or & # 8220 ; The Teachings of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu. & # 8221 ; Now, Chuang Tzu ( 369-286 B.C. )

was a existent individual ; his instructions come down to us in a short aggregation of his expressions. The Yellow

Emperor is wholly fabulous. This Lao Tzu, nevertheless, we know nil about ; we can non state with

certainty if he existed and when ; on the other manus, we can non state with certainty that he did non be.

All we know is that we have a really short book, the Lao Tzu ( or Tao te ching ) , whose writer is

supposed to be Lao Tzu. The book is difficult to read ( as is Chuang Tzu ) , for one of the underlying

rules of Taoism is that it can non be talked about. Hence, Lao Tzu uses non-discursive authorship

techniques: contradiction, paradox, mysticism, and metaphor. ( Reader p. 82 )

The Legaliats presented a first in Chinese authorities: the application of a philosophical

system to authorities. And despite their blue failure and subsequent demonisation throughout

descendants, the philosophical and political inventions they practiced had a permanent consequence on the nature

of Chinese authorities.

The basic starting point for the early Confucianists ( Confucius and Mencius ) was that human

existences were basically good ; every homo was born with Te, or & # 8220 ; moral virtue. & # 8221 ; The 3rd gr


Confucianist of antiquity, Hs? n Tzu ( fl. 298-238 B.C. ) , believed precisely the antonym, that all human

existences were born basically depraved, selfish, greedy, and lubricious. However, this was non some

dark and pessimistic position of humanity, for Hs? n Tzu believed that worlds could be made good

through socialization and instruction ( which is the basic position of society in Europe and America from

the eighteenth to the 20th centuries: worlds are basically basal and coarse but can be taught

to be good and refined ) . His student, Han Fei Tzu, began from the same starting point, but determined

that worlds are made good by province Torahs. The lone manner to look into human selfishness and corruption

was to set up Torahs that bounteously rewarded actions that benefit others and the province and ruthlessly

penalize all actions that harmed others or the province. For Confucius, power was something to be wielded

for the benefit of the people, but for Han Fei, the benefit of the people lay in the ruthless control of

single selfishness. Since even the emperor can non be counted on to act in the involvements of the

people, that is, since even the emperor can be selfish, it is necessary that the Torahs be supreme over

even the emperor. Ideally, if the Torahs are written good plenty and enforced sharply, there is no

demand of single leading, for the Torahs entirely are sufficient to regulate a province. ( Website )

When the Ch & # 8217 ; in gained imperial power after decennaries of civil war, they adopted the thoughts of

the Legalists as their political theory. In pattern, under legalists such as Li Ssu ( d. 208 B.C. ) and

Chao Kao, the Legalism of the Ch & # 8217 ; in dynasty ( 221-207 ) involved a unvarying dictatorship. Peoples

were conscripted to labour for long periods of clip on province undertakings, such as irrigation undertakings or the

series of defensive walls in northern China which we know as the Great Wall ; all dissension with

the authorities was made a capital offense ; all alternative ways of thought, which the Legalists saw as

promoting the natural unruliness of humanity, were banned. The policies finally led to the

ruin of the dynasty itself after merely 14 old ages in power. Local peoples began to revolt and

the authorities did nil about it, for local functionaries feared to convey these rebellions to the attending of

the governments since the studies themselves might be construed as a unfavorable judgment of the authorities and

so consequence in their executings. The emperor & # 8217 ; s tribunal did non detect these rebellions until it was far excessively

tardily, and the Ch & # 8217 ; in and the policies they pursued were discredited for the remainder of Chinese history.

( Reader p. 82 )

But it is non so easy to disregard Legalism as this short, anomalous, unpleasant period of

dictatorship in Chinese history, for the Legalists established ways of making authorities that would

deeply influence ulterior authoritiess. First, they adopted Mo Tzu & # 8217 ; s thoughts about utilitarianism ; the

merely occupations that people should be engaged in should be businesss that materially benefited

others, peculiarly agribusiness. Most of the Ch & # 8217 ; in Torahs were efforts to travel people from useless

activities, such as scholarship or doctrine, to utile 1s. This utilitarianism would last as a

dynamic strain of Chinese political theory up to and including the Maoist revolution. Second, the

Legalists invented what we call & # 8220 ; regulation of jurisprudence, & # 8221 ; that is, the impression that the jurisprudence is supreme over every

single, including single swayers. The jurisprudence should govern instead than persons, who have

authorization merely to administrate the jurisprudence. Third, the Legalists adopted Mo Tzu & # 8217 ; s thoughts of uniform

standardisation of jurisprudence and civilization. In order to be effectual, the jurisprudence has to be uniformly applied ;

no-one is to be punished more or less badly because of their societal standing. This impression of

& # 8220 ; equality before the jurisprudence & # 8221 ; would, with some alterations, remain a cardinal construct in theories of Chinese

authorities. In their pursuit for unvarying criterions, the Ch & # 8217 ; in undertook a undertaking of standardising

Chinese civilization: the authorship system, the pecuniary system, weights and steps, the philosophical

systems ( which they chiefly accomplished by destructing rival schools of idea ) . This

standardisation deeply affected the coherency of Chinese civilization and the centralisation of

authorities ; the effort to standardise Chinese thought would take in the early Han dynasty ( 202

B.C.-9 A.D. ) to the merger of the rival schools into one system of idea, the alleged Han

Synthesis. ( Website )

With this background information, I believe that the Confucianists and the Legalists would

support the U.S. engagement in Kosovo ; while the Taoists would be against it. The Confucianists

would see it as their responsibility to assist out the people in Kosovo, and to halt the atrociousnesss that are

happening at that place. Not acquiring involved would be non being virtuous. The power of the United States

should be wielded to assist the people and the province.

The Legalists would besides back up engagement in Kosovo, but for a different ground than the

Confucianists. They would see it as their right to demo tough love to the Yugoslavians. They would

privation to back up the UN? s determination that no state can interrupt the jurisprudence and non be punished. Once the

Yugoslav? s were punished, they would see the visible radiation as to what is the proper thing to make. The

Legalists believed that

merely penalizing Yugoslavia for their bad behaviour would benifit the universe and give it order.

The Taoists would non back up the U.S. engagement in Kosova for many grounds. The

Taoists believe in the virtuousnesss of inactivity. They believed that the intent of human life, so, is to

unrecorded life harmonizing to the Tao, which requires passiveness, composure, non-striving ( wu Wei ) , and humbleness.

The Taoists would hence non prosecute in an aggressive onslaught in Kosovo.

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