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Skip to 0 minutes and 17 seconds The Lineage of Korean Neo-Confucian Debate After having two philosophical giants, Toegye (1502-1571) and Yulgok (1536-1584), Korean philosophy could have its own references and sources, which led to its own lineage of philosophical debate. This means that Korean neo-Confucians no longer had to align themselves with the development of Chinese philosophy and instead began to develop their views by referring to the philosophical stance of Toegye and Yulgok. Though many scholars relied on the words of an authoritative figure in Chinese neo-Confucianism, Zhu Xi, in order to justify their own position when the heat of debate reached its peak, what they sought to defend were the uniquely Korean intellectual traditions formed by Toegye and Yulgok’s arguments.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 seconds As the debate to defend Toegye or Yulgok’s position became more sophisticated, different branches emerged even within the same school of thought. The so-called “Horak Debate” is a well-known debate between the “Ho” group and “Rak” group, two factions within the Yulgok School. The Horak Debate’s two main figures, Namdang Han Wonjin and Oeam Yi Gan, studied under the same teacher, Suam Gwon Sangha, a devoted successor of the Yulgok lineage. The “Ho” group is known as the orthodox line, whereas the “Rak” group was the reformative line. Nevertheless, they each believed that their interpretation better explained Yulgok’s position.

The Beginning of Authentic Korean Philosophical References

There were two philosophical giants, Toegye (1502-1571) and Yulgok (1536-1584), in the history of Korean philosophy.

Following their work, Korean philosophy could have its own reference and source, which led to its own lineage of philosophical debate. This video is a brief introduction about the lineage of Korean intellectual tradition.

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Introduction to Korean Philosophy

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)

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