Confucianism And Social Conduct

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The period of the warring states was a period of extensive warfare, political instability and social unrest. At the same time, the continual wars ongoing led to the development of many philosophical ideologies thus it was also known as a period where the hundred schools of thought flourished. However, amongst the many philosophical ideologies that proliferated that era, only a few ideologies were successfully used during different periods of Chinese history, leaving a profound impact in history. In this paper, the relative success and failures in the visions of Confucianism and Legalism of political governance and social conduct will be discussed. For the discussion in this paper, success of the school of thought would be defined by its relevance…show more content…
Failure of the school of thought would be defined as the discontinuity of the idea due evident historical ineffectiveness in using the idea for governance and social conduct or merely the irrelevance of it to society today.
Confucianism was a philosophical ideology centralised about social conduct, through the emphasis on humanness within an individual. At the foundation of his beliefs, is the idea of benevolence (仁), a quality that one should aim to achieve. His teachings are primarily about fostering relationships at all levels of society, how one should behave in front of others, towards their elders and to their ancestors.
Under the Han and Tang dynasty, Confucianism was adopted as the imperial philosophy and was also promoted amongst its citizens through by establishing the Confucian classics as the basis of the government examination system and the core of the educational curriculum. During these periods, Confucianism was the considered the most popular school of thought. Throughout the history of China, the Han and Tang dynasties
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Legalism was also well-known as the greatest rival towards the Confucian school of thought. The primary ideas of legalism was to govern a country through the basis of punishment and reward so as to preserve and strengthen the state. Its main purpose served to redesign the governing institutions to reflect the realities of the socioeconomic and political transformations of the late spring and autumn period and the warring states period. This ideology was then adopted by Qin Shi Huang of the Qin Dynasty to rule, punishments were harsh, those who did not follow the law were sentenced to death while those who contributed significantly to the government was rewarded generously. Under these strict rules was how the Qin was able to unify China and standardise the language used.
After the Qin Dynasty, it has become evident that legalism was very successful in helping to maintain order and controlling the country. So its philosophy was also adopted by the Han who used it to control its empire. Legalism provides a more practical approach to governing a country through the enforcement of law, deterring people from committing crime. Although China is not a legalist country, legalism has a profound impact on the legal system practiced by the government throughout Chinese history. The central idea of legalism is still in use today although it is not explicitly
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