Hundred Schools of Thought
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The Hundred Schools of Thought () were philosophies and schools that flourished from the 6th century BC to 221 BC during the
Spring and Autumn period#REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the ...
and the
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period i ...
of ancient
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
. An era of great cultural and intellectual expansion in China, it was fraught with chaos and bloody battles, but it was also known as the Golden Age of
Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from th ...
because a broad range of thoughts and ideas were developed and discussed freely. This phenomenon has been called the Contention of a Hundred Schools of Thought (百家爭鳴/百家争鸣; ''bǎijiā zhēngmíng''; ''pai-chia cheng-ming''; "hundred schools contend"). The thoughts and ideas discussed and refined during this period have profoundly influenced
lifestyle Lifestyle often refers to: * Lifestyle (sociology), the way a person lives * ''Otium'', ancient Roman concept of a lifestyle * Style of life (german: Lebensstil), dealing with the dynamics of personality Lifestyle may also refer to: Business and ...
s and
social consciousness Social consciousness is consciousness shared by individuals within a society.East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the ...

East Asia
n countries and the East Asian diaspora around the world. The
intellectual An intellectual is a person who engages in critical thinking Critical thinking is the analysis of facts to form a judgment. The subject is complex; several different Critical thinking#Definitions, definitions exist, which generally include ...
society of this era was characterized by itinerant scholars, who were often employed by various state rulers as advisers on the methods of government, war, and diplomacy. This period ended with the rise of the imperial
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Francis Wade, during the mid-19th ...

Qin dynasty
and the subsequent
purge of dissent
purge of dissent
.


Schools listed in the ''Shiji''

A traditional source for this period is the ''Shiji'', or ''
Records of the Grand Historian The ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese name ''Shiji'', is a monumental history of ancient China and the world finished around 94 BC by the Western Han Dynasty official Sima Qian after having been started by his father ...

Records of the Grand Historian
'' by
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu B ...

Sima Qian
. The autobiographical section of the ''Shiji'', the "Taishigong Zixu" (太史公自序), refers to the schools of thought described below.


Confucianism

Confucianism (儒家; ''Rújiā''; ''Ju-chia''; "School of scholars") is the body of thought that arguably had the most enduring effects on Chinese life. Its written legacy lies in the
Confucian Classics Chinese classic texts or canonical texts () or simply dianji (典籍) refers to the Chinese texts which originated before the imperial unification by the Qin dynasty in 221 BC, particularly the " Four Books and Five Classics" of the Neo-Confucian ...
, which later became the foundation of traditional society.
Confucius } Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or commonly zh, s=, p=Kǒngzǐ, labels=no; ) was a Chinese philosopher Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), d ...

Confucius
(551–479 BC), or Kongzi ("Master Kong"), looked back to the early days of the
Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, and the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese. The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscript ...
for an ideal socio-political order. He believed that the only effective system of government necessitated prescribed relationships for each individual: "Let the ruler be a ruler and the subject a subject". Furthermore, he contended that a king must be virtuous in order to rule the state properly. To Confucius, the functions of government and social stratification were facts of life to be sustained by ethical values; thus his ideal human was the
junzi A junzi ( or "Son of the Monarch") is a Chinese philosophical term often translated as " gentleman" or "superior person",Sometimes "exemplary person". Paul R. Goldin translates it "noble man" in an attempt to capture both its early political and ...
, which is translated as "gentleman" or "superior person".
Mencius Mencius ( ); born Mèng Kē (); or Mengzi (; 372–289 BC) was a Chinese Confucian philosopher who has often been described as the "second Sage", that is, after only Confucius } Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or ...

Mencius
(371–289 BC), or Mengzi, formulated his teachings directly in response to Confucius. The effect of the combined work of Confucius, the codifier and interpreter of a system of relationships based on ethical behavior, and Mencius, the synthesizer and developer of applied Confucianist thought, was to provide traditional Chinese society with a comprehensive framework by which to order virtually every aspect of life. There were many accretions to the body of Confucian thought, both immediately and over the millennia, from within and without the Confucian school. Interpretations adapted to contemporary society allowed for flexibility within Confucianism, while the fundamental system of modeled behavior from ancient texts formed its philosophical core. Diametrically opposed to Mencius, in regards to human nature (性), was the interpretation of Xunzi (c. 300–237 BC), another Confucian follower. Xunzi preached that man is not innately good; he asserted that goodness is attainable only through training one's desires and conduct.


Legalism

The School of Law or Legalism (法家; ''Fǎjiā''; ''Fa-chia''; "School of law") doctrine was formulated by
Li KuiLi Kui may refer to: *Li Kui (legalist), government minister in the Wei state *Li Kui (chancellor), chancellor of the Tang Dynasty *Li Kui (Water Margin), fictional character in the ''Water Margin'' {{hndis, Li, Kui Legalism greatly influenced the philosophical basis for the imperial form of government. During the
Han Dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han Dynasty
, the most practical elements of Confucianism and Legalism were taken to form a sort of synthesis, marking the creation of a new form of government that would remain largely intact until the late
19th century The 19th (nineteenth) century began on January 1, 1801 (), and ended on December 31, 1900 (). The 19th century was the ninth century of the . The 19th century saw much social change; was , and the and s (which also overlap with the and centu ...
, with continuing influence into the present.


Taoism

Philosophical Taoism or Daoism (道家; ''Dàojiā''; ''Tao-chia''; "School of the Way") developed into the second most significant stream of Chinese thought. Its formulation is often attributed to the legendary sage
Laozi Lao Tzu (),"Lao Zi"
''
("Old Master"), who is said to predate Confucius, and
ZhuangziZhuangzi may refer to: *Zhuangzi (book), ''Zhuangzi'' (book) (莊子), an ancient Chinese collection of anecdotes and fables, one of the foundational texts of Daoism **Zhuang Zhou (莊周), the historical figure known as "Master Zhuang" ("Zhuangzi") ...
(369–286 BC). The focus of Taoism is on the individual within the natural realm rather than the individual within society; accordingly, the goal of life for each individual is seeking to adjust oneself and adapting to the rhythm of the natural (and the supernatural) world, to follow the Way (
tao Tao or Dao is the natural order of the universe whose character one's human intuition Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without recourse to conscious reasoning. Different fields use the word "intuition" in very different ways, in ...

tao
) of the universe, and to live in harmony. In many ways the opposite of rigid Confucian morality, Taoism was for many of its adherents a complement to their ordered daily lives. A scholar serving as an official would usually follow Confucian teachings, but at leisure or in retirement might seek harmony with nature as a Taoist recluse. Politically, Taoism advocates for rule through inaction, and avoiding excessive interference.


Mohism

Mohism or Moism (墨家; ''Mòjiā'';'' Mo-chia''; "School of Mo") was developed by followers of
Mozi Mozi (; ; Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s to r ...

Mozi
(also referred to as Mo Di; 470–c.391 BC). Though the school did not survive through the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Francis Wade, during the mid-19th ...

Qin dynasty
, Mohism was seen as a major rival of Confucianism in the period of the Hundred Schools of Thought. Its philosophy rested on the idea of impartial care (): Mozi believed that "everyone is equal before heaven", and that people should seek to imitate heaven by engaging in the practice of collective love. This is often translated and popularized as "universal love", which is misleading as Mozi believed that the essential problem of human ethics was an excess of partiality in compassion, not a deficit in compassion as such. His aim was to re-evaluate behavior, not emotions or attitudes.The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward Craig. Routledge Publishing. 2005. His epistemology can be regarded as primitive materialist
empiricism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all th ...
; he believed that human cognition ought to be based on one's perceptions – one's sensory experiences, such as sight and hearing – instead of
imagination Imagination is the ability to produce and simulate novel objects, sensations, and ideas in the mind The mind is the set of faculties responsible for mental Phenomenon, phenomena. Often the term is also identified with the phenomena themselves. ...

imagination
or internal logic, elements founded on the human capacity for
abstraction Abstraction in its main sense is a conceptual process where general rules and concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas or general notions that occur in the mind, in speech, or in thought. They are understood to be the fundamental buildin ...

abstraction
. Mozi advocated
frugality Frugality is the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the consumption of consumable resources such as food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an ...
, condemning the Confucian emphasis on ritual and music, which he denounced as extravagant. He regarded offensive warfare as wasteful and advocated pacifism or at the most, defensive fortification. The achievement of social goals, according to Mozi, necessitated the unity of thought and action. His political philosophy bears a resemblance to divine-rule monarchy: the population ought always to obey its leaders, as its leaders ought always to follow the will of heaven. Mohism might be argued to have elements of
meritocracy Meritocracy (''merit'', from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
: Mozi contended that rulers should appoint officials by virtue of their ability instead of their family connections. Although popular faith in Mohism had declined by the end of the Qin Dynasty, its views are said to be strongly echoed in Legalist thought.


School of Yin-yang

The School of Naturalists or Yin-yang (陰陽家/阴阳家; ''Yīnyángjiā''; ''Yin-yang-chia''; "School of Yin-Yang") was a philosophy that synthesized the concepts of
yin-yang In Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang ( and ; zh, t= ''yīnyáng'' pronounced , lit. "bright-black", "positive-negative") is a concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, ...
and the Five Elements;
Zou Yan Zou Yan (; ; 305 BC240 BC) was an ancient Chinese philosopher best known as the representative thinker of the Yin and Yang School (or School of Naturalists) during the Hundred Schools of Thought era in Chinese philosophy. Biography Zou Yan was a ...
is considered the founder of this school. His theory attempted to explain the universe in terms of basic forces in nature: the complementary agents of yin (dark, cold, female, negative) and yang (light, hot, male, positive) and the Five Elements or Five Phases (water, fire, wood, metal, and earth). In its early days, this theory was most strongly associated with the states of Yan and Qi. In later periods, these
epistemological Epistemology (; ) is the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for a statement of fact ...

epistemological
theories came to hold significance in both philosophy and popular belief. This school was absorbed into Taoism's alchemic and magical dimensions as well as into the Chinese medical framework. The earliest surviving recordings of this are in the Ma Wang Dui texts and
Huangdi Neijing ''Huangdi Neijing'' (), literally the ''Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor'' or ''Esoteric Scripture of the Yellow Emperor'', is an ancient Chinese medical text that has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine Tr ...
.


School of Names

The School of Names or Logicians (名家; ''Míngjiā''; ''Ming-chia''; "School of names") grew out of
Mohism Mohism or Moism () was an ancient Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characteri ...
, with a philosophy that focused on
definition A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical ...

definition
and
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit ...

logic
. It is said to have parallels with that of the Ancient Greek
sophists A sophist ( el, σοφιστής, ''sophistes'') was a teacher in ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9 ...
or
dialectician A dialectician is a philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wisdom'. The coining of the term has been attributed ...
s. The most notable Logician was
Gongsun Longzi Gongsun Long (, BCLiu 2004, p. 336), courtesy name Zibing (子秉), was a Chinese philosopher and writer who was a member of the School of Names (Logicians) of ancient Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the S ...
.


Schools listed in the ''Hanshu''

In addition to the above six major philosophical schools within the Hundred Schools of Thought, the "
Yiwenzhi "Yiwenzhi" (), or the "Treatise on Literature", is the bibliographical section of the ''Hanshu'' (''Book of Han'') by the Chinese historian Ban Gu (32–92 AD), who completed the work begun by his father Ban Biao. The bibliographical catalog is the ...
" of the ''
Book of Han The ''Book of Han'' or ''History of the Former Han'' is a history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically ...
'' adds four more into the Ten Schools (十家; ''Shijia'').


School of Diplomacy

The School of Diplomacy or School of Vertical and Horizontal [Alliances] () specialized in diplomatic politics; Zhang Yi (strategist), Zhang Yi and Su Qin were representative thinkers. This school focused on practical matters instead of any moral principle, so it stressed political and diplomatic tactics, and debate and lobbying skill. Scholars from this school were good orators, debaters and tacticians.


Agriculturalism

Agriculturalism () was an early Agrarianism, agrarian social and political philosophy that advocated peasant utopian communalism and egalitarianism. The philosophy is founded on the notion that human society originates with the development of agriculture, and societies are based upon "people's natural propensity to farm." The Agriculturalists believed that the ideal government, modeled after the semi-mythical governance of Shennong, is led by a benevolent king, one who works alongside the people in Tilling (agriculture), tilling the fields. The Agriculturalist king is not paid by the government through its treasuries; his livelihood is derived from the profits he earns working in the fields, not his leadership. Unlike the Confucians, the Agriculturalists did not believe in the division of labour, arguing instead that the economic policies of a country need to be based upon an egalitarian self sufficiency. The Agriculturalists supported the price fixing, fixing of prices, in which all similar goods, regardless of differences in quality and demand, are set at exactly the same, unchanging price. For example, Mencius once criticized its chief proponent Xu Xing (philosopher), Xu Xing for advocating that rulers should work in the fields with their subjects. One of Xu's students is quoted as having criticized the duke of Teng (state), Teng in a conversation with Mencius by saying:


Syncretism

Syncretism, or the School of Miscellany () integrated teachings from different schools; for instance, Lü Buwei found scholars from different schools to write a book called ''Lüshi Chunqiu'' cooperatively. This school tried to integrate the merits of various schools and avoid their perceived flaws. The (c. 330 BC) ''Shizi (book), Shizi'' is the earliest textual example of the Syncretic School.


School of "Minor-talks"

The School of "Minor-talks" () was not a unique school of thought. Indeed, all the thoughts which were discussed by and originated from non-famous people on the street were included in this school. At that time, there were some government officials responsible for collecting ideas from non-famous people on the street and report to their senior. These thoughts formed the origin of this school. This also explains its Chinese name, which literally means "school of minor-talks".


Unlisted schools

These schools were not listed in the Hanshu but did have substantial influence.


School of the Military

Another group is the School of the Military () that often studied and discussed about what westerners called Philosophy of war. Some of them studied warfare and strategy, others focused on kinds and skills of weapons. Sun Tzu and Sun Bin were influential leaders. Some of their famous works are Sun Tzu's The Art of War and Sun Bin's Art of War. Their theories influenced later
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
and even
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the ...

East Asia
more broadly. These classical texts have received great interest among contemporary interpreters, some of whom have applied it to military strategy, the martial arts, and even modern business.


Yangism

Yangism was a form of ethical egoism founded by Yang Zhu. It was once widespread but fell to obscurity before the Han dynasty. Due to its stress on individualism, it influenced later generations of Taoism, Taoists.


School of the Medical Skills

School of the Medical Skills () is a school which studied Medicine and health. Bian Que and Qibo were well-known scholars. Two of the earliest and existing Chinese medical works are
Huangdi Neijing ''Huangdi Neijing'' (), literally the ''Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor'' or ''Esoteric Scripture of the Yellow Emperor'', is an ancient Chinese medical text that has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine Tr ...
and Shanghan Lun.


History and origins

The "
Yiwenzhi "Yiwenzhi" (), or the "Treatise on Literature", is the bibliographical section of the ''Hanshu'' (''Book of Han'') by the Chinese historian Ban Gu (32–92 AD), who completed the work begun by his father Ban Biao. The bibliographical catalog is the ...
" of the ''Hanshu'' claims that the officials working for the government during the early Zhou Dynasty lost their position when the authority of the Zhou rulers began to break down in the Eastern Zhou period. In this way, the officials spread all over the country and started to teach their own field of knowledge as private teachers. In this way the schools of philosophy were born. In particular, the School of Scholars (i.e. the Confucian School) was born from the officials of the Ministry of Education; the Taoists from the historians; the Yin-yang School from the astronomers; the Legalist School from the Ministry of Justice; the School of Names from the Ministry of Rituals; the Mohist School from the Guardians of the Temple; the School of Diplomacy from the Ministry of Embassies; the School of Miscellany from the government counselors; the School of Agriculture from the Ministry of the Soil and Wheat; the School of Minor Talks from the minor officials. Although the details are unclear, the burning of books and burying of scholars during the Qin was the end of the period of open discussion. It should be stressed that only the Ru, or Confucians and the Mohists were actual organized schools of teachers and disciples during this period. All the other schools were invented later to describe groups of texts that expressed similar ideas. There was never an organized group of people describing themselves as "Legalists," for example, and the term "Daoist" was only coined in the Eastern Han after having succeeded the Western Han's Huang-Lao movement.


See also

*Axial Age *Hellenistic philosophy *Hundred Flowers Campaign *Jixia Academy


References


External links


Classics of the hundred schools
Chinese Text Project (Chinese and English)
先秦諸子‧要覽子藉
Many fragmentary and newly discovered texts of the hundred schools of thought.(Chinese)
《子藏》總序 - 臺北大學中國文學系05子藏-1155部Hundert Schulen
ChinaKnowledge

* s:Author:Mo Zi, Mo Zi-Wikisource {{DEFAULTSORT:Hundred Schools Of Thought Agriculturalism Chinese philosophy Confucianism Legalism (Chinese philosophy) Mohism Taoism History of Taoism