Abstract

Here's a short version: The “-ism” we invoke when we posit things like “Daoism” was glimpsed for the first time by Sima Tan . (d. 110 b.c.e.), lord grand astrologer (taishigong) to the Han court. His essay “Yaozhi” (Essential points), included in the final chapter of his son Sima Qian's Taishigong, analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of six approaches to governance:

Yinyang ,

Ru (known to us as Confucians),

Mo (the Mohists),

Fajia (called Legalists),

Mingjia (called Sophists), and

Daojia (or Daode , the supposed Daoists).

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