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Acta Koreana is published semi-annually on June 15 and December 15 by Academia Koreana, Keimyung University.
 
 
Title THE LI-KI STRUCTURE OF THE FOUR BEGINNINGS AND THE SEVEN EMOTIONS AND THE INTENT OF THE FOUR-SEVEN DEBATE: A CRITICAL REFLECTION ON THE METHODS OF EXPLAINING THE THEORIES OF THE FOUR BEGINNINGS AND THE SEVEN EMOTIONS IN KOREAN NEO-CONFUCIANISM
 
Author
KIM HYOUNGCHAN
Volume Vol. 18 No. 2
Pages pp. 561~581 (all 20 pages)
Publication Date DECEMBER, 2015
Keyword Neo-Confucianism, Korean Confucianism, the Four Beginnings, the Seven Emotions, the Four-Seven Debate, a theory of li, ki, “heart-mind,” and “nature”
Abstract It is not easy to explain the distinct relationships and roles of concepts like li (理, principle), ki (氣, matter or energy), heart-mind (sim 心), and nature (sŏng 性) because the terms simultaneously explain both the physical quality and the ethical nature of being. In order to solve this difficulty, Confucians of the Chosŏn dynasty tried to search for effective ways of explanation by analyzing them, and today’s scholars also make persistent efforts to resolve this difficulty. One direction of such arguments in the Sŏngho school, which includied Chŏng Yag-yong, was to divide the usages of the concepts into “the special” (chŏn 專) and “the universal” (ch’ong 總). In addition, there was “the theory of mutual opposition” (taesŏl 對說) versus “the theory of mutual causation” (insŏl 因說), which was suggested by Ki Tae-sŭng in his disputes over the Four Beginnings and the Seven Emotions with Yi Hwang, and the “horizontal viewing” (hoeng’gan 橫看) versus “vertical viewing” (sugan 竪看), which was used by Yi I, Yi Chin-sang, Chŏng Chae-gyu, and others. Contemporary scholars have also used these frameworks in order to explain the theories of li, ki, “heart-mind,” and “nature” in Chosŏn Confucianism. And these methods focus mainly on the li and ki structure of moral emotions. However, most Chosŏn Neo-Confucianists discussed these topics in order to actualize moral life in the real world by searching for ways of controlling emotions, rather than discovering the ontological structure of li, ki, “heart-mind,” and “nature”. If we consider what we can learn from Neo-Confucianism’s li, ki, “heart-mind,” and “nature” theory or the theory of the Four Beginnings and the Seven Emotions today, we should take note of the experiences and the results of discussions that attempt to make a normative justifiability of moral life equal to the inevitability of the natural law, by considering that human beings and society share their material and principles with nature. And we should evaluate dispassionately the theories and the results of these theories that were made in order to accomplish a Confucian moral society, and make the evaluation helpful for generating a discussion to lead today’s society in a desirable direction.
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