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Acta Koreana is published semi-annually on June 15 and December 15 by Academia Koreana, Keimyung University.
Volume Vol. 20 No. 1
Pages pp. 53~71 (all 19 pages)
Publication Date JUNE, 2017
Keyword Horak Debate, Yi Kan (Oeam), Han Wŏn-jin (Namdang), Zhu Xi, Yi Hwang (Toegye), Yi I (Yulgok), the Chunghwa theory , the unaroused state (mibal), the kiballisŭngilto theory ѨۡԲ, the litonggiguk theory Ѩ
Abstract The eighteenth-century Neo-Confucian scholars in Korea were deeply concerned with two questions, namely, whether human nature and non-human nature are the same or not and whether all human nature is the same or not. In answering the second question, they focused on the moral nature of mibalsimche ڱۡ by asking whether the state of the mind or mind-substance before the arousal of feelings (or thoughts) is morally good or not.
As noted, in Neo-Confucianism the unaroused state of feelings chŏng is generally identified with a state of nature sŏng which is pure and clear, and which is therefore characterized as morally good. However, Korean Neo-Confucian scholars noticed that this characterization could be controversial since the account of the unaroused state given by the Chinese Neo-Confucian, Zhu Xi, was not clear enough, but ambiguous. The problem of mibal was a matter of interest since the Four-Seven Debate in the sixteenth century in Korea, and it once again became the subject of intense contention in the eighteenth-century debate between Yi Kan and Han Wŏn-jin, who endeavored to reveal the exact moral characteristics of human nature in terms of the qualities of human constituents, i.e. li and ki.
In what follows, I shall begin by examining Zhu Xis diverse accounts of mibal, show the emergence of the problem of mibal in the Four-Seven Debate between Yi Hwang and Yi I, and, finally, discuss the moral nature in the state of mibal presented by Yi Kan and Han Wŏn-jin.
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