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Chinese Philosophy and Thought

This table provides a chronological overview over the various schools and traditions of Chinese philosophy, and the most important thinkers (in biographical shape) from antiquity to the 20th century. You can also find information about tendencies in philosophy over time by browsing the navigation to the left.

Masters of the "Hundred Schools" (baijia 百家 ) and early philosophical tendencies
Confucians 儒家 Rujia
Kong Qiu, Confucius (Kongzi, Zhongni) 孔丘 (孔子, 中尼) (551-479 BCE)
Zuo Qiuming 左丘明 (6th/5th cent. BCE)
Gongyang Gao 公羊高 (5th cent. BCE)
Guliang Shu 穀梁淑 (5th cent. BCE)
Kong Ji (Zisi) 孔伋 (子思) (483-402 BCE)
Meng Ke, Mencius (Mengzi) 孟軻 (孟子) (385/372-304/289 BCE)
Daoists 道家 Daojia
Li Dan (Laozi) 李耽 (老子) (? BCE)
Guan Yin (Guanyinzi) 關尹 (關尹子) (? BCE)
Wenzi 文子 (? BCE)
Lie Yukou (Liezi) 列御寇 (列子) (fl. 400 BCE)
Zhuang Zhou (Zhuangzi) 莊周 (莊子) (c. 369-286 BCE)
Liu An (Huainanzi) 劉安 (淮南子) (179-122 BCE)
Mohists and Logicians 墨家 Mojia
Mo Di (Mozi) 墨翟 (墨子) (c. 476-c. 390 BCE)
Chanzi 纏子 (4th cent. BCE)
Tian Qiu 田俅 (ca. 360-300 BCE)
Sui Chao 隨巢 (4th cent. BCE)
Hu Fei 胡非 (4th cent. BCE)
Legalists 法家 Fajia
Zichan 子產 (d. 522 BCE)
Li Kui 李悝 (c. 455-395 BCE)
Shen Buhai 申不害 (c. 420-337 BCE)
Shen Dao (Shenzi) 慎到 (慎子) (c. 395-315 BCE)
Shang Yang 商鞅 (c. 390-338 BCE)
Han Fei (Hanfeizi) 韓非 (韓非子) (c. 281-233 BCE)
The School of of Guan Zhong 管仲學派 Guan Zhong xuepai
Guan Zhong (Guanzi) 管仲 (管子) (725-645 BCE)
"Sophists" or Dialecticians, the "School of Designations" 名家 Mingjia
Deng Xi 鄧析 (545-501 BCE)
Hui Shi (Huizi) 惠施 (惠子) (c. 370-310 BCE)
Gongsun Long 公孫龍 (320-250 BCE)
"Hedonists" or "Egoists", the School of Yang Zhu, Yangists 楊朱學派 Yang Zhu xuepai
Yang Zhu 楊朱 (440-360 BCE)
Yin-Yang School (Yinyangjia 陰陽家)
Zou Yan 鄒衍 (c. 305-240 BCE)
Five Processes School (Wuxing jia 五行家)
The Jixia Academy 稷下學派 Jixia xuepai
Tian Pian (Tianzi) 田騈 (田子) (4th cent. BCE)
Chunyu Kun 淳于髡 (late 4th cent. BCE)
The school of Song Xing and Yin Wen 宋尹學派 Song-Yin xuepai
Song Xing 宋銒 (385-304 BCE)
Yin Wen 尹文 (360-280 BCE)
Agriculturalists 農家 Nongjia
Geomancy 風水 fengshui note: this is a neologism
The Yellow River Chart and the Inscription of the River Luo 河圖洛書 Hetu Luoshu
The Huang-Lao School 黃老學派 Huanglao xuepai
Han Period Philosophers
Fu Sheng 伏勝 (early 2nd cent. BCE)
Shusun Tong 叔孫通 (d. 189 BCE)
Dai Sheng 戴聖 (early 1st cent. BCE)
Dai De 戴德 (mid-1st cent. BCE)
Dong Zhongshu 董仲舒 (179-104 BCE)
Kong Anguo 孔安國 (c. 156-c. 74 BCE)
Jing Fang 京房 (77-37 BCE)
Yang Xiong 揚雄 (53 BCE-18 CE)
Huan Tan 桓譚 (23 BCE-56 CE)
Wang Chong 王充 (27-97)
Jia Kui 賈逵 (30-101)
Ma Rong 馬融 (79-166)
Zheng Xuan 鄭玄 (127-200)
He Xiu 何休 (129-182)
Cai Yong 蔡邕 (132-192)
Fu Qian 服虔 (late 2nd cent. CE)
Philosophers of the Dark Age
School of the Mystery 玄學 Xuanxue
Ge Xuan 葛玄 (164-244)
He Yan 何晏 (190-249)
Wang Su 王肅 (195-256)
Huangfu Mi 皇甫謐 (215-282)
Wang Bi 王弼 (226-249)
Zhang Miao 張邈 (d. 292)
Shu Xi 束晳 (d. c. 300)
Pei Wei 裴頠 (267-300)
Ouyang Jian 歐陽建 (268-300)
Guo Pu 郭璞 (276-324)
Ge Hong 葛洪 (283-343/363)
Sun Chuo 孫綽 (320-377)
Han Kangbo 韓康伯 (332-380)
Mei Ze 梅賾 (fl. 400)
Zhang Zhan 張湛 (fl. 400)
Fan Zhen 范縝 (ca. 450-510)
Huang Kan 皇侃 (488-545)
Philosophers of the Confucian Revival
Lu Deming 陸德明 (ca. 550-630)
Kong Yingda 孔穎達 (574-648)
Song Period Neo-Confucianism
School of Song Studies 宋學 Songxue
Xing Bing 邢昺 (932-1010)
Zhou Dunyi 周敦頤 (1017-1073)
Zhang Zai 張載 (1020-1077)
Shao Yong 邵雍 (1011-1077)
The School of the Teaching of the Principle 理學 lixue
The Cheng Brothers
Cheng Yi
Cheng Hao
二程
程頤
程顥

(1033-1107)
(1031-1085)
Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130-1200)
The School of the Teaching of the Mind 心學 xinxue
Lu Jiuyuan 陸九淵 (1139-1192)
Li Gou 李覯 (1009-1059)
Chen Fuliang 陳傅良 (1137-1203)
Zhang Shi 張栻 (1133-1180)
Lü Zuqian 呂祖謙 (1137-1181)
Ye Shi 葉適 (1150-1223)
Zhen Dexiu 真德秀 (1178-1235)
Wei Liaoweng 魏了翁 (1178-1237)
Wen Tianxiang 文天祥 (1236-1283)
Xu Heng 許衡 (1209-1281)
Wu Cheng 吳澄 (1249-1333)
Ming Period Philosophers
Fang Xiaoru 方孝孺 (1357-1402)
Xue Xuan 薛瑄 (1389-1464)
Zhan Ruoshui 湛若水 (1466-1560)
Wang Yangming (Wang Shouren) 王陽明 (王守仁) (1472-1529)
Lü Kun 呂坤 (1536-1618)
Li Zhi 李贄 (1527-1602)
Jiao Hong 焦竑 (1540-1620)
Qing Period Philosophers and Thinkers
Zhedong School 浙東學派 Zhedong xuepai
Qian-Jia School or School of Han Studies 乾嘉學派 Qian-Jia xuepai, 漢學 Hanxue
Changzhou School or Gongyang School 常州學派 Changzhou xuepai, 公羊學派 Gongyang xuepai
Yan-Li School 顏李學派 Yan-Li xuepai
Sun Qifeng 孫奇逢 (1585-1675)
Huang Zongxi 黄宗羲 (1610-1695)
Lu Shiyi 陸世儀 (1611-1672)
Zhang Lüxiang 張履祥 (1611-1674)
Gu Yanwu 顧炎武 (1613-1682)
Wang Fuzhi 王夫之 (1619-1692)
Mao Qiling 毛奇齡 (1623-1716)
Li Yong 李顒 (1627-1705)
Zhu Yizun 朱彝尊 (1629-1709)
Xu Qianxue 徐乾學 (1631-1694)
Gu Zuyu 顧祖禹 (1631-1692)
Hu Wei 胡渭 (1633-1714)
Wan Sida 萬斯大 (1633-1683)
Yan Yuan 顔元 (1635-1704)
Yan Ruoqu 閻若璩 (1636-1704)
Yao Jiheng 姚際恒 (1647-1715)
Li Gong 李塨 (1659-1733)
Jiang Yong 江永 (1681-1762)
Hui Dong 惠棟 (1697-1758)
Lu Wenchao 盧文弨 (1717-1795)
Zhuang Cunyu 莊存與 (1719-1788)
Wang Mingsheng 王鳴盛 (1722-1797)
Dai Zhen 戴震 (1723-1777)
Ji Yun 紀昀 (1724-1805)
Qian Daxin 錢大昕 (1728-1804)
Weng Fanggang 翁方綱 (1733-1818)
Duan Yucai 段玉裁 (1735-1815)
Zhang Xuecheng 章學誠 (1738-1801)
Wang Niansun 王念孫 (1744-1832)
Kong Guangsen 孔廣森 (1752-1786)
Ruan Yuan 阮元 (1764-1849)
Liu Fenglu 劉逢祿 (1776-1829)
Song Xiangfeng 宋翔鳳 (1779-1860)
Gong Zizhen 龔自珍 (1792-1841)
Wei Yuan 魏源 (1794-1857)
Chen Li 俞樾 (1810-1882)
Yu Yue 陳澧 (1821-1907)
Wang Xianqian 王先謙 (1842-1918)
Sun Yirang 孫詒讓 (1848-1908)
Pi Xirui 皮錫瑞 (1850-1909)
Liao Ping 廖平 (1852-1932)
Intellectual Currencies from the Late 19th Century on
Kang Youwei 康有為 (1858-1927)
Wu Zhihui 吳稚暉 (1865-1953)
Sun Wen (Sun Yat-sen) 孫文 (1866-1925)
Wang Guowei 王國維 (1877-1927)
Zhang Renjie 張人傑 (1877-1950)
Li Shizeng 李石曾 (1881-1973)
Liu Shipei 劉師培 (1884-1920)
Xiong Shili 熊十力 (1885-1968)
Hu Shi 胡適 (1891-1962)
Dai Jitao 戴季陶 (1891-1949)
Liang Shuming 梁漱溟 (1893-1988)
Fan Wenlan 范文瀾 (1893-1969)
Feng Youlan 馮友蘭 (1895-1990)
He Lin 賀麟 (1902-1992)
Mou Zongsan 牟宗三 (1909-1995)