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Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy

Ed. by Feger, Hans / Dikun, Xie / Ge, Wang

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30 Characteristics of Chinese Philosophy and the Chinese National Spirit

Li Cun Shan
Published Online: 2016-07-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/yewph-2016-0032


Humanistic and ethical thought existed in China already in the ancient culture period, and was strongly enhanced during the Spring and Autumn era. Based on this background and foundation, Confucius is ‘a creator of the paradigm’ of Chinese philosophy, and Lao-Tzu is ‘an original metaphysician,’ both establishing the basic tendencies of Chinese philosophy. After that, the philosophies of pre- and post-Qin eras, all continued to develop along their thought. Chinese philosophy has several characteristics, including the unity of nature and man, truth and goodness, cognition and behavior, ontology and cosmology, humanity and natural law, the theory of human nature and values and many others. Its theoretic framework and basic structure aims to enlighten what humans ought to be - a question at the core of Chinese culture, reflecting the national spirit. The Chinese spirit is paradigmatically expressed in two sayings, “as Heaven’s movement is ever vigorous, so must a gentleman ceaselessly strive,” and “as Earth is broad and profound, so must a gentleman be greatly virtuous and lenient.”

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Published Online: 2016-07-27

Published in Print: 2016-07-25

Citation Information: Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy, Volume 2016, Issue 1, Pages 402–420, ISSN (Online) 2196-5897, ISSN (Print) 2196-5889, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/yewph-2016-0032.

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