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Philosophy and Ethics: A look at Confucianism and Taoism and their Affects on the Ethics and culture of the Eastern World.

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Nicole Ellen Colraine Civ 10 - 10/19/2000 Professor Weidey -- 9:00AM T, Th Philosophy and Ethics: A look at Confucianism and Taoism and their Affects on the Ethics and culture of the Eastern World Two great philosophical school of thought, Taoism and Confucianism manifested in the 6th Century BC in ancient China. The third significant school of thought, Buddhism, was introduced by India and manifested in Chinese culture around 2 AD. Confucianism is greatly concerned with social relations, conduct, and human society. Taoism, on the other hand is much more individualistic and mystical character and is dramatically affected by nature. Together, these three faiths have shaped and molded Chinese life and thought for the past twenty-five hundred years. Whatever the truth, Taoism and Confucianism are two distinct responses to the social, political and philosophical conditions of life Out of all the pre-Confucian philosophers, Lao-Tzu was indeed the greatest. Lao-Tzu lived in the 6th century BC. He composed a book known as the Tao-Te Ching, which is the foundation of Taoism. Tao-te-ching, in English, translates into 'the way and it's power". "The Way" is to lead a modest life using the elements of silence and nature. ...read more.


After his death in 479 BC, his ideas slowly won acceptance and eventually became the official philosophy of China. Confucius was interested in ways to organize a good society. To him, a good society was one which preserved peace and order amongst the individuals and between government and the people. As a result, Confucianism emerged and offered up a code for individuals to follow in their social and political relationships. Confucius's followers kept his thoughts and teachings into a book called the Analects. Confucian code of conduct stressed virtues such as loyalty, courtesy, hard work and kindness. If people practiced these virtues every moment of their life, Confucius believed social harmony to be the result. Confucius constructed five basic relationships defining everyone's place in society including the relationships between: ruler and subject, parent and child, husband and wife, older brother and younger brother, and friend and friend. The five relationships determine how society should be organized. In each relationship, each individual has responsibilities, or duties towards the other. Confucius reasoned that if everyone obeyed his or her duty, an orderly balanced society was the result. One example is a ruler has a responsibility to govern and provide a good government for his inhabitants. ...read more.


Thus, Taoism and Confucianism is not as controlled as Aristotelian ethics. Moreover, Taoism and Confucianism embrace time as being cyclical while the western world hold time to be of a linear nature. Although Confucianism and Taoism were established almost 25 centuries ago, they are still relevant and continue to influence modern society. Both schools of thought together are the guiding light in almost every aspect of Chinese life. A modern view of Taoism is portrayed by Hollywould through such pop culture movies as The Phantom Menace and Star Wars -- the "force" in both movies is an excellent example of modern Taoism. Even though they are differ in their practice, the underlying foundation of Taoism and Confucianism are the same. That is, the purpose of both schools of thought is to instill morality into an individual and to help one to find the path to the "good life." Through studies of Taoism and Confucianism, the East and West, both searching for a dialogue for tomorrow's world, can learn from, and help each other. The understanding of the two eastern philosophies by the west will assist in the formation of a better, more objective world -- not though conflagration, but rather through mutual cooperation in achieving peace for the future. ...read more.

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