Over the centuries China has adapted to many diverse philosophiesbut the three major philosophies are Daoism, Legalism, and Confucianism. Eachphilosophy has its own set of rules on how the followers should act both inprivate and in public. Daoism, Confucianism and Legalism have many differencesand similarities in their family values, government and morals. Confucianism wasdeveloped in 551-479 BC by a Chinese philosopher named Confucius. Confuciusbelieved that in order to have a successful and organized society youngers hadto respect their elders and parents. Confucius emphasized on moral order, thesociety and the righteousness of Chinas ancient rulers. They also believed thateducation was very important for the society as well as for themselves.
Anotherrule they lived by is that strong relationships should be based on a greatgovernment. The main ideas of Confucianism were that leaders should beconsiderate and lead by example, people should be respectful and loyal to theirfamily members and that learning is a process that never ends. Daoism was developedaround the 3rd or 4th century BCE by the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu hesearched for various ways to create an orderly society.
Lao Tzu focused on thelink between nature and people rather than the importance of proper behavior.Daoists believed that living the natural way was the best. Daoists didn’t seeeye to eye with Confucian rules for the society as they thought they wereuseless. They disagreed with the rules as they believed that a society withrules disrupted the natural order. A quote that Daoists live by and believe isthat if “The duck’s legs are short, but if we try to lengthen them, the duckwill feel pain. The crane’s legs are long, but if we try to shorten them, thecrane will feel grief. Therefore we are not to cut off what is by nature long,nor to lengthen what is by nature short.
” (Tzu). According to Daoists, the bestgovernment to have was one that has very few rules. They preferred things to besimple.Legalism was developed in 475-221 BC by Hanfeizi a Chinesephilosopher. He declined Confucian ideas about proper behavior. He stronglybelieved that people act out of arrogance and they were evil by nature andneeded to be controlled. Legalists also believed that by having harsh rules itwould ensure order in the society.
Legalists wanted the empire to expand.Family came second in obeying the laws their duty was to betray and reporttheir family members into the government if they happened to break a law.Legalists believe strongly that the upper class are much more important thancommon people.
In conclusion Confucianism, Legalism and Daoism have far moredifferences than similarities. they are different in the sense thatConfucianism required Youngers to respect their elders whereas legalismrequired that individuals should be loyal subjects the government and Daoismemphasized on following the path of nature. Legalism was based on the idea thatpeople were naturally evil. Daoism and Confucianism were based on the idea thatpeople were good but needed guidance.
Although they have far more differencesthan similarities all the philosophies strived to achieve individual goodnessfor the well-being of their society.