Compare And Contrast Essay On Taoism And Confucianism

Essay On Taoism And Confucianism

China is home to loads of philosophical ideas. No wonder, two influential religious philosophies, Taoism and Confucianism, have originated there.

Even though they appeared practically at the same time, they have a lot of differences. Like, Taoism is all about rules for the life of an individual, whereas Confucianism concerns the whole society.

Still, they do share a lot in common. For example, both Confucianism and Taoism have an aspect of philosophy as well as a religion, but each of them represents different ways of thinking and implementing behavioural codes.

These two philosophies are two sides of the same coin.

Writing a compare and contrast Taoism vs Confucianism essay en this topic might be challenging, but definitely won’t be boring!

What is the structure of compare and contrast essay on Taoism and Confucianism?

The goal of writing compare and contrast essay is in analyzing the differences and (or) similarities between two subjects of choice.

If you simply point out, what is different or what is similar, it, unfortunately, won’t count as an essay.

To complete this task, you have to provide several mindful and meaningful arguments about each difference or similarity you emphasize.

There are several ways to organize a compare and contrast essay.

Way #1. Point by point

This is the type of organization where you directly discuss differences or similarities one by one.

Like, f.e., you say both Confucianism and Taoism are religious philosophies and discuss why.

It is quite convenient for a reader but might be a bit confusing for you as a writer. In this case, you’ll have to learn all the information thoroughly and predefine the points of comparison beforehand.

Way #2. Subject by subject

In this case, you discuss the peculiarities of the first subject, and then you move to the second subject.

So, if it is an essay on Confucianism and Taoism, you would discuss the philosophy and ideas of Confucianism first. You’d tell about the origins, specific features, practices and beliefs.

Afterwards, you’d move to Taoism and go through the same points, philosophy, ideas, origins, features and practices.

It would be convenient for you as a writer, for you won’t need to jump back and forth from subject to subject. Thus, you won’t need to memorize all the differences and similarities between them.

Still, your reader might get confused if you won’t pay enough attention to the issues you compare within the subjects.

Way #3. Compare, and then contrast

With this structure, you’d start with a comparison of two chosen subjects. This means you’d need to find all the similarities between them and point them out.

Secondly, you’d contrast them by pointing out how both are different.

With this structure nor you, not your reader, would be confused. Your main ideas would be organized and evident for you and your audience.

How to outline the compare and contrast essay?

The outline is an essential part of an essay. Even though it won’t be presented in the final text, it genuinely helps you organize your thoughts, plan the writing process and kinda predict what you’ll get at the very end.

First of all, you’d need to rely on the way of compare and contrast essay organization. You may choose one of the 3 options presented above.

Once you decide, plan the following types of paragraphs.


State your intention to discuss the differences between Taoism and Confucianism. Explain why the topic is relevant and what are the main reasons behind this comparison.

Main Body Paragraphs.

Organize those due to the chosen structure. We’ll show you the sample of a subject by subject comparison.

Body Paragraph 1. Taoism: View of human nature.
Body Paragraph 2. Taoism: View of salvation.
Body Paragraph 3. Confucianism: View of human nature.
Body Paragraph 4. Confucianism: View of salvation.

Concession/ Competitive Arguments.

Acknowledge you are aware of other arguments, statements, points of view. Tell, there are many more points of comparison, and you know about them.

Still, due to the limited format of the essay, you can’t cover each and every aspect of the issue.


Summarize the ideas you presented. Restate the thesis from the introduction.

Don’t do paraphrasing of the statement. The audience has a good memory of what you’ve already said. Take your thoughts to the next level and provide your reader with some food for thought.

Difference between Taoism and Confucianism

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What is the difference between Taoism and Confucianism?

There are many other differences between the two, including:

  • Belief.
    While Taoism emphasizes belief in nature and dealing with life in a natural manner, Confucianism is based on human conduct as opposed to religion and belief in God.
  • Focus.
    Taoism focuses majorly on nature; Confucianism is focused on improving society.
  • Founders.
    Lao Tzu founded Taoism; Kong Qui founded Confucianism.
  • Goals.
    The goal of Taoism is to have a balanced life; that of Confucianism is to create harmony in the society.
  • The status of women in society.
    Taoism holds women as respected members of society; Confucianism takes women to be inferior to men.
  • Holidays.
    Taoism has holidays on the Chinese New Year, ancestor day and the three-day festival of the dead while Confucianism has holidays on the first two days as well as Teacher Day.

With these differences in mind, you have a brief idea of what to include in your compare and contrast essay. This, however, is just a tip of the iceberg. There is much more you need to know to write a good quality compare and contrast essay.

Similarities between Confucianism and Taoism

Even though Confucianism and Taoism differ through so many ways, we still can find loads of similarities between those philosophies.

When writing your compare and contrast essay, you might want to write a paragraph about what those ideologies share.

You may start something like this:

“A goal common to Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism is to raise self-cultivation and work on self-improvement. They, of course, differ in the methods of implementation. One is concerned about outer social life; the other cares about inner spiritual growth.”

Also, Confucianism and Taoism share a cosmogony that was borrowed from Buddhism.

Apart from that, we can list other significant similarities, like:

  • Country of origin. Both started in China.
  • Both philosophies search for harmony with the Way.
  • The centre of philosophy is Tao.
  • Result of self-improvement is an improved social order.

Writing a compare and contrast Confucianism and Taoism essay

Although a few differences are listed above, you might want to include more in your essay.

How do you do this?

One way is in creating Confucianism and Taoism Venn diagram with the overlapping circles; one for each item you are representing. The section in the middle is for the characteristics that the two objects have in common.

While generating these points, always keep in mind the purpose of writing this essay and use points that best achieve this purpose.

Regarding Confucianism and Taoism, ask yourself:

  • What are these philosophies about?
  • Did they originate from a particular historical period?
  • Who was behind their creation and their goals?
  • How broad are they in terms of scope?

To make your paper more specific, you may discuss, f.e. the Taoism and Confucianism view of salvation, or answer question of

“Are Taoism and Confucianism truly religions?”

Once you have a long enough list of differences and similarities, go through it to select only the most relevant which you will include in your paper.

It is also essential to have in mind that some relevant points may not be interesting enough to be added to your paper.

Pay extra attention to your thesis. The thesis of a compare and contrast essay holds special importance because it guides the writer throughout the entire essay.

To effectively guide your reader through your points, you have to be very mindful of the language you use.

Make use of cues like:

  • while
  • despite
  • in comparison to
  • however
  • still
  • on the contrary
  • yet
  • although
  • nevertheless
  • regardless
  • on the one hand
  • even though

These words will make it clear that you are making a comparison.

Armed with this knowledge and extra tips, you are now ready to begin writing your compare and contrast Confucianism and Taoism essay.

Not really into writing compare and contrast essay? Confucianism and Taoism sound boring? We’ve got a bunch of experts genuinely interested in the subject… and in helping you…

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