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Skip to 0 minutes and 17 secondsIn this lesson, we began with a fundamental aspect of Korean philosophy, in that the emotion -reason binary was integrated in a single faculty, called the "mind-heart". This development paved the way for Korean philosophers to establish novel ideas, like the emphasis on everyday feelings and morality. The Four-Seven debate, which questioned whether the former could become the latter, led to a rise in great Korean philosophers, such as Toegye and Yulgok. We saw that, as the field of Korean philosophy broadened, so did the scope of debate, even within the same school of thought. The Horak debate, as we discussed, saw two opposing views on the case for human morality in non-humans, and in further developments, pondered upon the source of morality in "Mibal".

Skip to 1 minute and 30 secondsSome scholars call this ardor to search for the source of morality "Korean spirituality." Koreans like to be mutually connected rather than to see the world as merely a collective whole of individuals. This goes hand in hand with the argumentative nature of Koreans as well. I hope it's been interesting to learn how the Korean Matrix has shaped certain ideas and concepts into novel philosophies. Join me next week, where we'll discuss what core aspects of Korean culture have influenced the workings of the Korean Matrix.

Revisiting the content for Week 3

This week, we have explored the characteristics of Korean philosophy, covering the two famous debates in the Korean intellectual traditions.

We began with a fundamental aspect of Korean philosophy, in that the emotion-reason binary was integrated in a single faculty, called the “mind-heart”. After that, we continued to examine moral emotions compared to our everyday feelings, and then we looked at the nature of morality in humans and in animals.

In the next week, we will learn what core aspects of Korean culture have influenced how it processes outside cultural influences, which I coined as the “Korean Matrix”.

Did you enjoy this week’s lessons? It was quite content-heavy this week, so I hope you’ll be able to ask questions and clarify with each other, or do some independent reading to learn more. Share your thoughts on this week below.

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Introduction to Korean Philosophy

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)

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