Chinese Philosophy Timeline

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  • 551 BCE - 479 BCE
    Life of Confucius.
  • c. 500 BCE
    Life of the Chinese Relativist Philosopher Teng Shih (probable date of death 522 or 502 BCE).
  • c. 500 BCE
    Probable life of the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu, founder of Taoism and author of the Tao-Te-Ching.
  • c. 500 BCE
    Probable life of Sun-Tzu, Military Strategist, author of The Art of War.
  • 470 BCE - 391 BCE
    Life of the Chinese pacifist philosopher Mo Ti, founder of Mohism.
  • 440 BCE - 360 BCE
    Life of Chinese Hedonist Philosopher Yang Zhu.
  • 372 BCE - 289 BCE
    Life of the Confucian philosopher Mencius (Mang-Tze).
  • c. 338 BCE
    Death of Shang Yang, early proponent of Legalist philosophy in China.
  • c. 280 BCE - c. 233 BCE
    Life of Han Feizi who developed Legalism in China.
  • 221 BCE - 206 BCE
    All philosophies of the Hundred Schools of Thought outlawed, except for Legalism, under the Qin Dynasty.
  • 213 BCE - 206 BCE
    Qin Dynasty elevates Legalism as state philosophy and bans all others.
  • 202 BCE - 9 CE
    Philosophies of the Hundred Schools of Thought revived under the Western Han Dynasty.
  • 141 BCE - 87 BCE
    Reign of Wu the Great of the Han Dynasty; Confucianism becomes state philosophy.
  • 712 CE - 756 CE
    Taoism becomes official religion of China under the Emperor Xuanzong.
  • c. 756 CE - c. 907 CE
    Taoism loses popular support with the decline of the Tang Dynasty. Replaced by Confucianism and Buddhism.