• Sungkyunkwan University logo

Introduction to Korean Philosophy

Get to grips with Korean philosophy as you dive into Korean history and culture with Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea.

4,619 enrolled on this course

Introduction to Korean Philosophy
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours
  • 100% online

    Learn at your own paceHow it works
  • Unlimited

    $15.83/monthLearn more

Discover the key philosophical ideas in the intellectual history of Korea

Despite the growing interest in Korean culture, there are few courses which explore the fascinating topic of Korean philosophy.

On this course, you’ll be introduced to concepts in Korean philosophy through an exploration of the Korean language, culture and perspective.

The Korean cultural, social, and political environment has informed and transformed the intellectual assets of China and the West. You’ll explore the creative tensions that Koreans have experienced, and broaden your worldview as you discover a new philosophical approach.

Skip to 0 minutes and 21 seconds What do you think of when I say the word “philosophy”? Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, or Kant or Wittegenstein? You may be more familiar with Western Philosophers. Now, what if I say “Korean philosophy”? What comes to mind then? These days, Korean culture is flourishing all over the world, with its music, TV shows, and movies. However, very few people would be able to tell you the philosophy that’s behind Korean culture. If you take your first step into Korean philosophy with me, you’ll find that it is a deep and complex field, comprised of fascinating themes like an integration of reason-emotion binaries, breaking down the creation of speech into its fundamentals, and a unique worldview on the relationships between people.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 seconds Hi, my name is Park So Jeong, from the Korean philosophy department of Sungkyunkwan University in Korea. If you have joined this course, it is likely that you have developed an interest in Korean culture and are looking to extend and deepen your learning. This course will give you a chance to do so.

Skip to 1 minute and 50 seconds In this introductory course, we will discuss and examine: “What is Korean philosophy?” “How did it develop?” and “What are its characteristics?” As Korean philosophy has always been evolving, we will try to find the underlying thread which connects it from the past to the present. Through this course, not only will you be able to have a clearer grasp on what makes up Korean culture, but you may learn a new way of thinking in viewing the world. Let’s explore Korean philosophy together!

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    What is Korean Philosophy?

    • Is there such a thing as Korean Philosophy?

      Before we delve into Korean philosophy proper, let’s first think about what makes up a philosophy.

    • Western vs East Asian Philosophy

      The landscape of philosophy became increasingly global since the early 20th century, with non-Western thought gaining greater recognition over time. Let’s take a look at the differences between East Asian and Western philosophy.

    • Chinese vs Korean Philosophy within the East Asian Sphere

      For Korean philosophy to be truly Korean, it must be distinct from the philosophy of her neighbour, China. Let’s explore what elements of Korean philosophy make it unique.

    • Conclusion

      Let’s wrap up what we’ve learnt this week.

  • Week 2

    How does Innovation occur at Cultural Boundaries?

    • Innovating on your Influences

      Cultural innovation occurs best when there is a conflict of cultures between two cultural groups. Let’s take a look at the ways external influences can manifest in incredible innovations.

    • Adapting from your Influences: Sungkyun, an Educational Ideal

      Here, we’ll look at a great example of Adaptive Innovation in Sungkyun, and how pre-modern Koreans absorbed an external influence to create something authentically Korean.

    • Disrupting Status Quo: Hangeul, the Korean Alphabet

      Here we’ll look at an example of Disruptive Innovation in Hangeul, and how existing concepts in East Asian thinking were applied in a novel way to a written language.

    • Conclusion

      Let’s wrap up what we’ve learnt this week.

  • Week 3

    What are the Core Debates of Korean Philosophy?

    • Reconciling Reason and Emotion

      Though reason and emotion are often considered two separate concepts in Western thought, Korean philosophy sees things quite differently. Let’s explore how this dichotomy is reconciled.

    • The Four-Seven Debate in Korean Philosophy

      An incredibly important debate in Korean Philosophy, the Four-Seven Debate sparked intense debate on the reconciliation between our everyday feelings and the moral emotions that dictated our morality.

    • The Two Giants of Korean Philosophy

      Two thinkers, Toegye and Yulgok, rose to become the figureheads of Korean philosophy through the growth of the Four-Seven Debate. Let’s explore how they affected the course of Korean philosophy to come.

    • The Horak Debate in Korean Philosophy

      The Horak Debate was a fiery debate originating from the Yulgok school of thought, covering a wide range of topics. Let’s take a closer look.

    • Conclusion

      Let’s wrap up what we’ve learnt this week.

  • Week 4

    How do you think through Korean Philosophy?

    • Korean Philosophy’s Unique Perspective on the World

      Korean philosophy contains a worldview that’s distinct from those from other cultures. Let’s connect the concepts discussed so far to the central worldview of Korean philosophy.

    • Chunking Yourself and the World Differently

      The unique worldview of Korean philosophy is inherent in the language, especially in the Korean word for ‘we’: “Uri”. Let’s see how the language establishes a dynamic relationship between the self and the world outside of it.

    • Moving Forwards

      Now that we’ve learnt the basics about Korean philosophy, here are some ideas on how to further explore this exciting field.

    • Conclusion

      Let’s wrap up what we’ve learnt through the course.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the field of Korean philosophy and its development through its continued innovation.
  • Compare Korean philosophy with both Chinese philosophy as well as Western philosophy.
  • Discuss the key ideas in Korean philosophical debates, such as the concepts of moral emotions and everyday feelings.
  • Reflect on the perennial questions with a new worldview through concepts in Korean philosophy.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in philosophy or Korean culture.

It will be of particular interest to teachers and students of Korean studies.

Who will you learn with?

I am a professor of Korean philosophy at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, Korea. I am interested in teaching Korean philosophy in a comparative perspective, and sharing this knowledge to non-Koreans.

Who developed the course?

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)

Sungkyunkwan University, founded in 1398 as the highest national educational institute in the early years of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea, has fostered leaders of Korean society for over 600 years.

  • Established

    1398
  • Location

    Seoul, South Korea
  • World ranking

    Top 100Source: QS World University Rankings 2021
Recommended

Ways to learn

Upgrade this course

Unlimited

Basic access

Choose the best way to learn for you!

$59

$15.83/month

Billed at $189.99 for a year

Free

Unlock your expertiseEndless possibilities!Try before you upgrade
Access to this courseticktickLimited to 6 weeks
Access to ALL eligible short courses with additional benefits, for a yearcrosstickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Tests to check your learningticktickcross
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Join and Upgrade

Ways to learn

Buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year or Upgrade just this course for extra benefits. Or, join with basic access.

Unlimited

$15.83/month

Billed at $189.99 for a year

Endless possibilities!

  • Access to this course
  • Access to ALL eligible short courses with additional benefits, for a year
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Upgrade this course

$59

Unlock your expertise

  • All of the above* for this course only, plus a printed certificate when you’re eligible

*Excludes access to all eligible short courses with additional benefits for a year

Basic access

Free

Try before you buy

  • Limited access to course content for 6 weeks

Find out more about certificates, Upgrades or Unlimited.

Sale price available until 6 December 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Upgrades or Unlimited.

Sale price available until 6 December 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...