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Difference Between Taoism and Confucianism

Taoism vs Confucianism

Confucianism and Taoism are two of the most popular philosophies or ideals that are being observed, not only by native Asian dwellers, but also by many people around the world. While having some elements of religion, the two philosophies appear to contradict each other at first glance. However, at a closer look, they actually resemble intertwining methodologies of human thinking with regard to everything; thus leading to certain defined behavior codes.

Still, the two differ in a number of ways. Foremost, Confucianism is more earthly. As such, it concentrates on man’s social aspect and his everyday life. As mentioned by Confucius, the proponent of Confucianism, the philosophy is inherently a social creature that has the capacity of being good. You become superior if you behave in such a way that is expected by the greater harmonious society. Taoism is different because it is more out of this world. The main idea of this philosophy is to embrace the Tao (the greater reality that is composed of the universe and everything else). It also concentrates on the person’s relationship to himself to achieve inner harmony. Thus, it is safe to say that Confucianism makes the person look on his immediate external environment to attain self-improvement while Taoism looks deep inside to attain the same.

Another area of distinction is the methodology of passing the lessons or philosophies. In Confucianism, the lessons are usually passed from the teacher to the students in the form of dialogues. As a matter of fact, the majority of Confucian teachings are just recorded Q & A sessions between the students and the master. But each dialogue has a unique teaching. Taoism, on the contrary, is spread through Lao Tzu’s (otherwise spelled as Lao Tse or Laozi) direct writing. In Taoism’s main manuscript, the “Tao Te Ching,” there are many poetic monologues that are best understood if understood as one.


1.Confucianism is a philosophy that is more grounded here on Earth because of its connection to the immediate society while Taoism is more encompassing at it is relating to man’s connection to the entire universe.
2.Confucianism makes the person relate to his immediate external environment to attain self-improvement whereas Taoism makes the person relate to his inner self.
3.Confucianism’s teachings are usually passed through dialogues while Taoism’s teachings are passed using direct writing.
4.Confucianism was developed by Confucius while Taoism was founded by Lao Tse.

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