Confucianism and Daoism Relationship

Paper Info
Page count 2
Word count 629
Read time 3 min
Topic Philosophy
Type Essay
Language 🇺🇸 US


Confucianism and Daoism are among well-known Eastern philosophical and religious doctrines. These teachings have both similar and distinctive features, and the long history of their formation and development explains specific approaches to the interpretation of universal human values and norms. The religious foundations of statehood promoted by the two religions, the aspects of the emergence and existence of the world, and human origins are the factors that bring together and distinguish these teachings.

Common and Distinctive Features

Searching for the religious and ideological foundations for the existence of the state is a common feature in Confucianism and Daoism. Both theological doctrines include explanations aimed to reveal what order relationships in society are subject to and what principles of interaction among people are optimal. According to the existing knowledge, Confucianism includes “a traditional code specifying behaviour appropriate for individuals according to their social roles” (Of Two Minds). Lawall et al. also recall some social ceremonies that have always been part of this doctrine (5). Based on the teaching, the state is called upon to control the observance of laws and apply appropriate penalties to those who violate them.

Daoism also includes norms that dictate the interaction of people in society. However, emerging as an alternative religion, this doctrine runs counter to some of the principles of Confucianism and can be perceived from a “critical perspective that diverged from Confucian thought” (Of Two Minds). Daoism promotes the concept of self-identity as a meaningful term that defines a person’s place in life. Therefore, despite the ideas about statehood, in Confucianism, more emphasis is placed on control, and in Daoism – on freedom.

The ideological foundations of a person and a constant search are the components of most world religions, including the two considered. However, from the perspective of root causes, Confucianism and Daoism are different. As D’Ambrosio argues, in Confucianism, “the person is part of a family and ancestry” (8). Daoism, in turn, focuses on the mystical justification for the existence of the world and humans and does not tie family norms and values to the foundations of behavior and enlightenment. The essence and the root cause of the world, or Dao, “is the unnameable reality that cannot be grasped by the mind” (Of Two Minds). Therefore, one of the differences is that in Confucianism, there are clearly laid foundations and background, while in Daoism, the comprehension of origin is unlikely and should be taken for granted.

Relevance of the Religions to Modernity

The ideas about a legislative status and the importance of statehood, which are promoted in Confucianism, are applicable to the modern world. Today’s society is legal, and to comply with civilized interaction, the role of control is high. The Dao principles, in turn, can be utilized as tools for relaxation and recreation. Self-immersion, nature observation, and other forms of exploring the world are useful practices that allow a person to get to know oneself and others better. Modern governments should take into account the Confucian “system where human beings are active moral agents” (Of Two Minds). Self-realization and the right to free education and self-development are the elements of a free society. Based on this system, the authorities can achieve mutual understanding with citizens and maintain order through external control rather than active intervention.


The foundations of statehood, the origins of the world and humans, and the justification of cultural backgrounds are the aspects that have similar and distinctive features in Confucianism and Daoism. The role of control and regulation is important in both theological doctrines, but Confucianism offers more pragmatic principles for the interaction of people in society, while Daoism is based on inner self-knowledge. Today, specific provisions from both religions can be applied to establish interaction between the authorities and citizens and maintain moral peace.

Works Cited

D’Ambrosio, Paul J. “Confucianism and Daoism: On the Relationship Between the Analects, Laozi, and Zhuangzi, Part I.” Philosophy Compass, vol. 15, no. 9, 2020, pp. 1-11.

Lawall, Sarah, et al., editors. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Vol. A: Beginnings to A.D. 100. 2nd ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2003.

“Of Two Minds: Confucianism and Daoism 两种思想:儒学与道教.” The Confucian Weekly Bulletin, 2017, Web.

Cite this paper


EssaysInCollege. (2022, May 24). Confucianism and Daoism Relationship. Retrieved from


EssaysInCollege. (2022, May 24). Confucianism and Daoism Relationship.

Work Cited

"Confucianism and Daoism Relationship." EssaysInCollege, 24 May 2022,


EssaysInCollege. (2022) 'Confucianism and Daoism Relationship'. 24 May.


EssaysInCollege. 2022. "Confucianism and Daoism Relationship." May 24, 2022.

1. EssaysInCollege. "Confucianism and Daoism Relationship." May 24, 2022.


EssaysInCollege. "Confucianism and Daoism Relationship." May 24, 2022.