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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

The Modernistic Aspects of Hong Dae-yong's Axiological View of Nature

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2005, v.45 no.1, pp.233-256

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Abstract

Whether nature is believed to have intrinsic standards for good and bad as human beings do, or is merely an object free of a value system of its own, becomes a major criterion for deciding the premodernity or modernity of a philosophy or system of thought. However, a critical issue in this essay is whether the application of the same criterion can do justice to Hong Dae-yongs philosophy.Hong Dae-yong used the cognitive possibility of the senses as a criterion to deny the presiding force of li, and argued that all things in the world come into being and change through gihwa (gi-ization). He demystified the theory of yin-yang and the Five Elements (ohaeng) by explaining yin and yang as different intensities of sunlight and the ohaeng as five concrete material elements. Li only exists within gi, but that does not deprive li of its value. As the basis of the identity of all things, it means nature (seong), origination, prosperity, advantage, and correctness (won-hyeong-i-jeong) humanity, rightness, decorum, and wisdom (in-ui-ye-sin); in one word, it means humanity as the mind-and-heart (sim) with which heaven and earth generate all things.Hong argued that since even the five moral imperatives (oryun) were the lessons that sages of the past took from nature, now human beings had to observe nature more closely and consider their society more carefully to constitute rules and laws that best suited the age. He called for a reflective critique of the imposition of human subjectivity on nature. His ideas took a direction different from that of the reductive view of nature typical of the West.

keywords
Hong Dae-yong Silhak modernity standard of modernity axiological view of nature morality in nature Joseon Neo-Confucianism Hong Dae-yong Silhak modernity standard of modernity axiological view of nature morality in nature Joseon Neo-Confucianism

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