Ancient Chinese Philosophy


The term Ancient Chinese Philosophy refers to the belief systems developed by various philosophers during the era known as the Hundred Schools of Thought when these thinkers formed their own schools during the Spring and Autumn Period (c. 772-476 BCE) and the Warring States Period (c. 481-221 BCE) after the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE) had begun to decline.

More about: Ancient Chinese Philosophy


  • 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.