Chinese School of Thought


Legalism was created by the philosopher Hanfeizi during the Han Dynasty. The Legalism philosophy involves the use of strict laws and harsh punishment. In the opinion of the legalists a strong government conquers violence. Greed is the greatest cause of conflicts and men have an evil nature. During this time the Great Wall of China was built and if you died while it was being constructed they buried you into the wall.


Confucianism was founded by the philosopher Confucius. In this philosophy filial piety, respect for elders, and stable societies built on proper behavior were very important. Rulers lead by example and knowledge is power. In order for people to become government officials they had to pass exams to show they knew the principles. Confucius's sayings were written in The Analects and there are five relationship that everybody in society should honor: father to son, elder brother to younger brother, husband to wife, ruler to subject, and friend to friend.


Taoism was founded by the philosopher Laozi. In this philosophy yin and yang were opposite forces that created harmony. In Taoist opinions conflict was rejected by yielding like water. Humans should be in harmony with nature and the best government was that that governs the least.


Buddhism was discovered by Siddhartha Gautama or Buddha in India where it eventually traveled to China through missionaries on the Silk Road. Meditation is important when promoting peace. Getting to Nirvana includes displaying right speech and actions. Lastly Monasteries became centers of learning.