Chinese philosophy is philosophy written in the Chinese tradition of thought. Chinese philosophy has a history of several thousand years; its origins are often traced back to the Yi Jing (the Book of Changes), an ancient compendium of divination, which uses a system of 64 hexagrams to guide action. This system is attributed to King Wen of Zhou (1099–1050 BCE) and the work reflects the characteristic concepts and approaches of Chinese philosophy. The Book of Changes evolved in stages over the next eight centuries, but the first recorded reference is in 672 BCE.
The Tao Te Ching (Dào dé jīng, in pinyin romanisation) of Lao Tzu (Lǎo zǐ)  and the Analects of Confucius (Kǒng fū zǐ; sometimes called Master Kong)  both appeared around the 6th century BCE, slightly ahead of early Buddhist philosophy in Northern India and slightly after pre-Socratic philosophy in Ancient Greece.
Confucianism represents the collected teachings of the Chinese sage Confucius, who lived from 551 to 479 BCE. His philosophy concerns the fields of ethics and politics, emphasizing personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, traditionalism, and sincerity. The Analects stress the importance of ritual, but also the importance of 'ren', which loosely translates as 'human-heartedness, Confucianism, along with Legalism, is responsible for creating the world’s first meritocracy, which holds that one's status should be determined by ability instead of ancestry, wealth, or friendship. Confucianism was and continues to be a major influence in Chinese culture, the state of China and the surrounding areas of Southeast Asia.
Throughout history, Chinese philosophy has been molded to fit the prevailing schools of thought and circumstances in China. The Chinese schools of philosophy, except during the Qin Dynasty, can be both critical and yet relatively tolerant of one another. Even when one particular school of thought is officially adopted by the ruling...