(also Yang Tzu-chü or Yang Sheng). Born circa 440 B.C.; died circa 360 B.C. (or, by some other accounts, born 414 B.C.; died 334 B.C). Chinese philosopher and freethinker.
Yang Chu’s works have not come down to us, but his views may be inferred from fragments preserved in treatises by various authors, such as Mencius and Chuang Tzu, and from the chapter “Yang Chu” in the Taoist treatise Lieh-tzu. Yang Chu proclaimed the concept of self-love, the value of one’s own life, and disdain for the external world, as well as hedonism—which, however, was not pushed to an extreme. Judging by Mencius’ pronouncement that “the words of Yang Chu filled the world,” the number of his followers was considerable. Proceeding from naive materialist notions, Yang Chu argued against the belief in immortality; he judged death to be as natural and inevitable as life. Yang Chu voiced his opposition to the views and activities of Confucius.
TEXTSDrevnekitaiskaia filosofiia, vol. 1. Moscow, 1972. Pages 212–24.
REFERENCESPetrov, A. “Ian Chzhu—vol’nodumets drevnego Kitaia.” Sovetskoe vostokovedenie, 1940, no. 1, pp. 174–211.
Ateisty, materialisty, dialektiki drevnego Kitaia. Introduction, translation, and commentary by L. D. Pozdneeva. Moscow, 1967. Pages 106–18.