In the East Asian intellectual context emphasizing the unity between human and the nature, Neo-Confucian scholars of Joseon displayed a profound interest in accomplishing the moral state of pure good without evil. The discussion on mibal 未發(the state where thoughts and emotions have not been aroused)within the Horak debate asked whether humans, with all their thoughts and desires, can free their mind-hearts from the influences of their innate temperaments (gijil 氣質). This study examines how the mind-heart was interpreted in the framework of the li-qi theory (igi ron 理氣論) as illustrated by the debates between two Joseon Neo-Confucian scholars, Yi Gan and Han Won-jin. Yi Gan and other Nak-ron scholars asserted that the mind-heart was “pure” in mibal and could therefore be established as the legitimate moral agent connected to original nature (bonseong 本性). On the other hand, Ho-ron scholars, including Han Won-jin, argued that one must accept the presence of qi 氣in the mibal state even though qi does not function in such a state, because it is only through qi that li 理can be manifested in reality.
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