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Classical Philosophy-Root Of Ancient Chinese Civilization

Kon Fu Zi

The ancient Chinese philosophy was born in remote past when there was no written language to be used as the carrier of information. The development of this philosophy has a history of at least seven to eight thousand years. The whole society paid great attention to it from the very beginning, and people in it used the philosophy in their professions and scholarly research work. For this reason, the classical philosophy of China profoundly influenced different aspects of ancient Chinese culture, such as China’s politics, economics, military affairs, law, ceremony and etiquette, education, astronomy, geography, music, architecture, calligraphy, and painting. All the more closely and inseparably bound up with ancient Chinese philosophy was the establishment of the traditional Chinese medical theories.

In the present-day world, only the Chinese  civilization, which pertains to East Asia and originated along the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, has maintained a continuous and uninterrupted process of development lasting 5,000 years. Though it has experienced various grave wrecks and trials caused by alien invasions and civil wars it has never once been suspended in development. Therefore, scholars, both Chinese and foreign, have reached a comparatively uniform consensus of opinion in their recognition of the basic characteristic of Chinese culture; that is, it is extensive and profound, tracing back its origin to very ancient times, and having a puissant vitality. And the gist of this mainstream culture is manifested in concentrated form in the philosophical view of the history of this race.

Unlike traditional Western philosophy, which places no special emphasis on the importance of family structure, ancient Chinese philosophy represented by Confucianism is a set of theories that give family a primary position. With family as the foundation, a complete framework of “human body → two genders → family and clan” is formed. Therefore, family in Chinese philosophy is existent, gender-interactive and diachronic. It should also be noted that family also plays a fundamental role in Chinese theories on cosmology, religion, and many other subjects. In other words, Chinese culture as a whole is imprinted with reflections on family. Nowadays, as the value of family becomes less prominent, re-examining ancient Chinese philosophy will undoubtedly bear theoretical significance. Meanwhile, traditional Chinese philosophy can also offer an ideological framework for the re-construction of family values in the contemporary world.

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