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Religions 2018, 9(11), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110374

The Four–Seven Debate of Korean Neo-Confucianism and the Moral Psychological and Theistic Turn in Korean Philosophy

Department of Humanities, Alvernia University, Reading, PA 19607, USA
Received: 21 September 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 19 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role and Meaning of Religion for Korean Society)
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Abstract

This paper discusses how Korean Neo-Confucian philosophers in the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910) explained the moral nature of the mind and its emotions. Among the philosophical debates of Korean Neo-Confucianism, the author of the paper focuses on the Four–Seven Debate (a philosophical debate about the moral psychological nature of the four moral emotions and the seven morally indiscrete emotions) to analyze its liqi metaphysics (a philosophical explanation of the universe through the intricate and interactive relation between the two cosmic processes, li and qi) and its conflicting viewpoints on the moral psychological nature of emotion. Because of the ambiguities and inconsistencies in the Neo-Confucian explanation, specifically those of the Cheng–Zhu schools of Neo-Confucianism on the nature and functions of the mind, Korean Neo-Confucians struggled to bring Neo-Confucian liqi metaphysics to the moral and practical issues of the human mind and moral cultivation. Later in the Joseon dynasty, some Korean Neo-Confucians discussed the fundamental limitations of liqi metaphysics and developed their explanations for the goodness of the moral mind and the world from an alternative (i.e., theistic) viewpoint. View Full-Text
Keywords: Korean Neo-Confucianism; the Four–Seven Debate; li and qi; moral metaphysics; moral psychology; theistic turn Korean Neo-Confucianism; the Four–Seven Debate; li and qi; moral metaphysics; moral psychology; theistic turn
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Seok, B. The Four–Seven Debate of Korean Neo-Confucianism and the Moral Psychological and Theistic Turn in Korean Philosophy. Religions 2018, 9, 374.

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