This unique volume of original essays presents in-depth analyses of representative periods, problems, and debates within the long and rich history of Korean philosophy. It provides the reader with a sense of the problems that motivated thinkers within the tradition and the kinds of arguments that characterize their reflections. With contributions from some of the best and most significant contemporary Korean philosophers, this volume marks an important new stage in the Western-language study and appreciation of Korean philosophy. In order for philosophy to be understood and appreciated as philosophy it must at some point be presented and evaluated as the human effort to understand problems through a process of careful and sustained analysis and argument. This anthology offers Western readers the first opportunity to meet and engage with traditional Korean Buddhist and Confucian philosophy on these terms.
Acknowledgments / Conventions / Introduction / 1. From Structure to Action: The Concepts of ‘Substance’ (che體) and ‘Function’ (yong用) in Gwon Geun’s Philosophy Halla Kim / 2. Another Look at Yi Hwang’s Views about Li and Qi: A Case of Time-lag in the Transmission of Chinese Originals to Korea Yung Sik Kim / 3. The Li-Qi理氣 Structures of the Four Beginnings and the Seven Emotions and the Aim of the Four-Seven Debates Hyoungchan Kim / 4. Yi Yulgok and His Contributions to Korean Confucianism: A Non-dualistic Approach Young-chan Ro / 5. Human Nature and Animal Nature: The Horak Debate and Its Philosophical Significance Richard Kim / 6. Jeong Yakyong’s Post Neo-Confucianism So-Yi Chung / 7. The Lord on High (Sangje 上帝) in Jeong Yakyong’s Thought Soon-woo Chung / 8. How do Sages Differ from the Rest of Us?: The Views of Zhu Xi and Jeong Yakyong Youngsun Back / 9. The Way to Become a Female Sage: Im Yunjidang’s Confucian Feminism Sungmoon Kim / 10. Burdens of Modernity: Baek Seonguk and the Formation of Modern Korean Buddhist Philosophy Jin Y. Park / Works Cited / Index
Youngsun Back is an Assistant Professor at the College of Confucian Studies & Eastern Philosophy, Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea.
Philip J. Ivanhoe is Professor of East Asian and Comparative Philosophy and Religion and Director of the Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy at City University of Hong Kong. His many publications include Confucian Reflections (2013), The Reception and Rendition of Freud in China (co-edited with Tao Jiang, 2013), Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought (co-edited with Amy Olberding, 2011) and Taking Confucian Ethics Seriously (co-edited with Kam-por Yu and Julia Tao, 2011).
Readers hungry for insights into Korea’s cultural history over the last six centuries need look no farther than this comprehensive survey of traditional Korean philosophy. In these pages they will meet such giants as Toegye, Yulgok and Dasan and will discover that Korean philosophy was both practical and theoretical, reflecting a moral psychology shaped by ethical concerns.
In Traditional Korean Philosophy: Problems and Debates, Youngsun Back and PJ Ivanhoe have marshaled a cadre of some of our most distinguished contemporary scholars to tell their own story of Korean philosophy by engaging with it philosophically. Abjuring survey or historical vignettes, the authors of this anthology offer tightly argued essays that grapple each in its own way with some of the evolving terminologies, subversive voices, and persistent problems of the tradition that has given this narrative its distinctively Korean character.