School of Naturalists

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Birth places of notable Chinese philosophers from Hundred Schools of Thought in Zhou Dynasty. Philosophers of Naturalist are marked by circles in yellow. Birth Places of Chinese Philosophers.png
Birth places of notable Chinese philosophers from Hundred Schools of Thought in Zhou Dynasty. Philosophers of Naturalist are marked by circles in yellow.

The School of Naturalists or the School of Yin-yang (simplified Chinese :阴阳家; traditional Chinese :陰陽家; pinyin :Yīnyángjiā; Wade–Giles :Yin-yang-chia; literally: 'School of Yin-Yang') was a Warring States-era philosophy that synthesized the concepts of yin-yang and the Five Elements.

Contents

Overview

Zou Yan is considered the founder of this school. [1] His theory attempted to explain the universe in terms of basic forces in nature: the complementary agents of yin (dark, cold, female, negative) and yang (light, hot, male, positive) and the Five Elements or Five Phases (water, fire, wood, metal, and earth). In its early days, this theory was most strongly associated with the states of Yan and Qi. In later periods, these epistemological theories came to hold significance in both philosophy and popular belief. This school was absorbed into the alchemic and magical dimensions of Taoism as well as into the Chinese medical framework. The earliest surviving recordings of this are in the Ma Wang Dui texts and Huang Di Nei Jing.

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Zou Yan (鄒衍; 305 240 BC) was an ancient Chinese philosopher best known as the representative thinker of the Yin and Yang School (or School of Naturalists) during the Hundred Schools of Thought era in Chinese philosophy. Zou Yan was a noted scholar of the Jixia Academy in the state of Qi. Joseph Needham, a British sinologist, describes Zou as "The real founder of all Chinese scientific thought."[ citation needed ] His teachings combined and systematized two current theories during the Warring States period: Yin-Yang and the Five Elements/Phases (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water).

During the Han dynasty, the concepts of the school were integrated into Confucian ideology, Zhang Cang (253-152 BCE) and Dong Zhongshu (179-104 BCE) being the chief instrumental figures behind this process.

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This page lists some links to ancient philosophy. In Western philosophy, the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire marked the ending of Hellenistic philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of medieval philosophy, whereas in Eastern philosophy, the spread of Islam through the Arab Empire marked the end of Old Iranian philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of early Islamic philosophy.

Chinese philosophy philosophy in the Chinese cultural sphere

Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period, during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characterized by significant intellectual and cultural developments. Although much of Chinese philosophy begins in the Warring States period, elements of Chinese philosophy have existed for several thousand years; some can be found in the Yi Jing, an ancient compendium of divination, which dates back to at least 672 BCE. It was during the Warring States era that what Sima Tan termed the major philosophical schools of China: Confucianism, Legalism, and Taoism, arose, along with philosophies that later fell into obscurity, like Agriculturalism, Mohism, Chinese Naturalism, and the Logicians.

Classical element Concepts in ancient Greece of earth, water, air, fire, and (later) aether, which were proposed to explain all matter in terms of simpler substances

Classical elements typically refer to the concepts of earth, water, air, fire, and (later) aether, which were proposed to explain the nature and complexity of all matter in terms of simpler substances. Ancient cultures in Persia, Greece, Babylonia, Japan, Tibet, and India had similar lists, sometimes referring in local languages to "air" as "wind" and the fifth element as "void". The Chinese Wu Xing system lists Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, though these are described more as energies or transitions rather than as types of material.

Air is one of the four classical elements in ancient Greek philosophy and in Western alchemy.

<i>Wuxing</i> (Chinese philosophy) Chinese five elements

The wuxing, also known as the Five Elements, Five Agents, Five Movements, Five Phases, Five Planets, Five Processes, Five Stages, Five Steps, or Five Ways, is the short form of "wǔ zhǒng liúxíng zhī qì" (五種流行之氣) or "the five types of chi dominating at different times". It is a fivefold conceptual scheme that many traditional Chinese fields used to explain a wide array of phenomena, from cosmic cycles to the interaction between internal organs, and from the succession of political regimes to the properties of medicinal drugs. The "Five Phases" are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. This order of presentation is known as the "mutual generation" sequence. In the order of "mutual overcoming", they are Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, and Metal.

Qi Vital force forming part of any living entity in traditional Chinese philosophy

In traditional Chinese culture, qi or ch'i is believed to be a vital force forming part of any living entity. Qi translates as "air" and figuratively as "material energy", "life force", or "energy flow". Qi is the central underlying principle in Chinese traditional medicine and in Chinese martial arts. The practice of cultivating and balancing qi is called qigong.

Chinese astrology

Chinese astrology is based on the traditional astronomy and calendars. Chinese astrology came to flourish during the Han Dynasty .

Hundred Schools of Thought philosophies and schools that flourished from the 6th century to 221 BCE, during the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period of ancient China

The Hundred Schools of Thought were philosophies and schools that flourished from the 6th century to 221 B.C. during the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period of ancient China.

Taiji (philosophy) principle of supreme potential in Chinese philosophy

Taiji is a Chinese cosmological term for the "Supreme Ultimate" state of undifferentiated absolute and infinite potential, the oneness before duality, from which Yin and Yang originate, can be compared with the old Wuji.

In Chinese philosophy, wood, sometimes translated as Tree, is the growing of the matter, or the matter's growing stage. Wood is the first phase of Wu Xing. Wood is the most yang in character of the Five elements. It stands for springtime, the east, the planet Jupiter, the color green, windy weather, and the Azure Dragon in Four Symbols. The color blue also represents wood.

The zàng-fǔ organs are functional entities stipulated by Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). They constitute the centre piece of TCM's general concept of how the human body works. The term zàng (脏) refers to the organs considered to be yin in nature – Heart, Liver, Spleen, Lung, Kidney – while fǔ (腑) refers to the yang organs – Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Gall Bladder, Urinary Bladder, Stomach and Sānjiaō.

Metal, the fourth phase of the Chinese philosophy of Wu Xing, is the decline of the matter, or the matter's decline stage. Metal is yin in character, its motion is inwards and its energy is contracting. It is associated with the autumn, the west, old age, the planet Venus, the color white, dry weather, and the White Tiger in Four Symbols. The archetypal metals are silver and gold.

Bagua eight trigrams used in Taoist cosmology

The Bagua or Pa Kua are eight symbols used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. Each consists of three lines, each line either "broken" or "unbroken", respectively representing yin or yang. Due to their tripartite structure, they are often referred to as Eight Trigrams in English.

Zhou Dunyi Chinese philosopher

Zhou Dunyi was a Chinese philosopher, cosmologist, and writer during the Song Dynasty. He conceptualized the Neo-Confucian cosmology of the day, explaining the relationship between human conduct and universal forces. In this way, he emphasizes that humans can master their qi in order to accord with nature. He was a major influence to Zhu Xi, who was the architect of Neo-Confucianism. Zhou Dunyi was mainly concerned with Taiji and Wuji, the yin and yang, and the wu xing. He is also venerated and credited in Taoism as the first philosopher to popularize the concept of the taijitu or "yin-yang symbol".

Zou Yan was an ancient Chinese philosopher best known as the representative thinker of the Yin and Yang School during the Hundred Schools of Thought era in Chinese philosophy.

Wuji (philosophy)

Wújí originally meant "ultimate" but came to mean the "primordial universe" prior to the Taiji 太極 "Supreme Ultimate" in Song Dynasty Neo-Confucianist cosmology. Wuji is also a proper noun in Modern Standard Chinese usage; for instance, Wuji County in Hebei.

In Chinese philosophy, fire is the prosper of the matter, or the matter's prosperity stage. Fire is the second phase of Wu Xing.

In Chinese philosophy, earth, is the changing point of the matter. Earth is the third element in the Wu Xing cycle.

In Chinese philosophy, water, is the low point of the matter, or the matter's dying or hiding stage. Water is the fifth stage of Wu Xing, the five elements.

References

  1. "Zou Yan". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 1 March 2011.