(as well as Mohists’, Lawyers’ and Names’ schools)
For most men interested in philosophy the Chinese philosophy is beforehand associated with the Confucianism. Its founder was the legendary teacher K'ung (K'ung-fu-tzu or Master K'ung, better known on the transliteration as Confucius. He created the system of the socio-ethical philosophy in which the Tao was comprehended in the social meaning as the place or the way of a man in society. Confucius lived in a very troublesome time of the Chinese history, the epoch of the feudal wars between different Chinese states. The intellectuals of that time considering their time as a time of the great disasters tried to answer the question 'what is the cause and what is the way out of it?' Confucian’s ethical philosophy was a variant of such an answer.
The cause of disasters shaking the Sublunar World (i.e. China) is the putridity of morals. The way out goes via their improvement. The latter should be started from the names correction. The cause of evil is that the evil deeds are called with the improper names (greediness is called prudence, aggression – valor etc.). This permits to hide their true essence and the calling all things with their proper names would clear up what is what and who is who. Then the turn of the noble men comes. The noble man is that who beforehand thinks of his duty. The base man thinks of his profit, the noble one thinks of duty, said Confucius. The only noble man can be considered as the real human, the base one can't because only through following the duty the humaneness (the quality making a human human) can be realized. The humaneness is meant with the word 'jen' (human, humanity, humaneness). Without 'jen' there is no human at all, hence it ought to be realized for a man to be a man. A man becomes a man only in society with occupying his proper place i.e. following his way or Tao (as being a part of the whole, the mankind). Therein is the noble man's duty. Thus everybody to be a human (to realize its 'jen') should follow its Tao (the way) i.e. to do what it should do. A governor should follow governor's Tao (to do what the governor should do, handicraftsman should follow handicraftsman's Tao and so on, in that case the Sublunar World would be in peace and order. But the question arises what the Tao consists in? It consists in the fulfillment of the certain norms concerning different people's behavior. They ought to manage the relations between people. There are according to Confucius five types of the relations: 1) between the governor and his subjects; 2) between the seniors and the juniors; 3) between brothers; 4) between parents and children; 5) between the equals. All they should be subdued to according formal norms and rituals. The followers of Confucius elaborated the sufficiently rigid system of such norms, rules and rituals .
The opponent of Confucius was another ancient Chinese philosopher Moh Yi. He did not agree with Confucius’ opinion that the humaneness consists only of the following duty and that without it there is no human. According to him the human nature can be any. But in order to stand peace and order it's really necessary to restrain wild animal passions and behave taking into consideration interests of others. It corresponds to the interests of all. But the main role in it unlike in the Confucianism is played not at all by duty but by love. The human society should be built on the grounds of love. All others are subdued to no formal norms but to the robust sense. Moh I blamed luxury and sumptuous burial rites (because these latters are not needed by the deads; unlike K'ung's asserting that independently on whether post mortal life exists all according rituals should be committed as if it is, because it's the tribute of respect necessary for the alives not less than for the deads). Lawyers were the school of the purely pragmatical orientation. They were not interested in such abstract problems as moral, respect, love or Tao at all but sought purely practical means of the mundane problems solving. In particular they were interested in the questions of the state government. They came to conclusion that the governor was not obliged to be endowed with different moral or other positive qualities and to govern in the common interests at all. He should govern only in his own interests using all means providing the restoration and the strengthening of his power. These means could include such as treachery, the total espionage, tortures, informing and so on.
In the 3d c B.C. China was again united under the ruling of the emperor Ch'in Shi Huan famous for his cruelty and ruthlessness. He governed leaning on lawyers' ideology. All other systems were forbidden and many of them did not survive. After his death the power went over to Han dynasty, representatives of which blamed the lawlessness of Ch'in Shi Huan and took the Confucianism as the official ideology. It remained it during more than 2000 years. There was installed the system of the state exams and scholar degrees. In order to occupy an official post the applicant should pass the examination on knowing the grounds of the Confucians philosophy and get appropriate degree. This system has stayed till the 20th c beginning. It ought also to mention the school of names. This school (its founder was Hui Shi) went in for logic and language problems which got no further development in the traditional Chinese philosophy .