Trouble with Korean confucianism: Scholar-official between ideal and reality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This essay attempts a philosophical reflection of the Confucian ideal of "scholar-official" in Joseon Korea's neo-Confucian context. It explores why this noble ideal of a Confucian public being had to suffer many moral-political problems in reality. It argues first that because the institution of Confucian scholar-official was actually a modus-operandi compromise between Confucianism and Legalism, the Confucian scholar-officials were torn between their ethical commitment to Confucianism and their political commitment to the state; and second, that because the Cheng-Zhu neo-Confucianism vigorously imported and indigenized by Joseon Koreans exalted the family over the state, Joseon neo-Confucian scholar-officials were torn between two competing moral obligations, filiality and loyalty. The essay concludes by discussing whether, given the problems with which the ideal of the Confucian scholar-official was frequently entangled, liberal individualism should be pursued as its normative alternative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-48
Number of pages20
JournalDao
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar 1

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Ideal
Confucianism
Confucian
Joseon
Korea
Legalism
Individualism
Neo-Confucianism
Loyalty
Compromise
Moral Obligation
Political Commitment

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy

Cite this

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Trouble with Korean confucianism : Scholar-official between ideal and reality. / Kim, Sungmoon.

In: Dao, Vol. 8, No. 1, 01.03.2009, p. 29-48.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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