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How far back can Chinese philosophy be traced, and how effective is it?

I know of Confucius [Confucianism] and Lao-Tzi [Taoism]. But I don’t know when these philosophies were established. And please tell me the difference between the two. Thanks- AJ


  1. taoism predates Confucianism, which began with confucious during the Zhou dynasty . . . .
    Confucianism is based on order and correctness. Taoism is a “way” based on the natural flow of reality.

  2. Chinese philosophy origins are often traced back to the Yi Jing(the Book of Changes), an ancient compendium of divination, which uses a system of 64 hexagrams to guide action. This system is attributed to King Wen around 1000 years BC and the work reflects the characteristic concepts and approaches of Chinese philosophy.
    The difference between the two is “practise Confucianism on the outside, Taoism on the inside”.
    Confucianism represents the collected teachings of the Chinese sage Confucius, who lived from 551 to 479 BC. His philosophy concerns the fields of ethics and politics, emphasizing personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, traditionalism, and sincerity.
    Taoism (Daoism) is a philosophy and later also developed into a religion based on the texts the Tao Te Ching and the Zhuang zhi. However in Daoism it refers more often to a meta-physical term that describes a force that encompasses the entire universe but which cannot be described nor felt.


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