Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 29, 2008

Philosophy in Asia and the Pacific

Byoungshup Park
Pages 205-216

한국철학의 독자성

1. What is Korean Philosophy? 2. What is Philosophy? : Philosophy as Axial Ideas, and Philosophy as Modern ideas 3. What are the distinctions of Korean Philosophy? 1. What is Korean Philosophy? What is Philosophy? It represents human, universal ideas. Does there exist Korean Philosophy that could represent the prevalent and universal ideas among Koreans, within the Korean regions? There are two popular meanings of Philosophy: a narrow meaning and a broad one. Korean Philosophy does not exist as philosophy within the narrow meaning. Philosophy (philosophy = philia+sophia) means “love (philia) of wisdom (sophia)” in the narrow sense that appeared as a demotic term in ancient Greece, and it became a technical term afterward. In the broad sense of philosophy, there are Arabic, Indian, and Chinese Philosophy. They mainly declare their existence through their respective philosophical histories. What is Korean Philosophy? In the narrow definition of ancient Greece, Korean Philosophy first appeared in the Modern Age (1860 A.D.). But In the broad definition of Arabia, India, and China, Korean Philosophy first appeared in “Age of Three Kingdoms of Korea” (37 B.C. ~688 A.D.). Is there a distinct, Korean Philosophy? Korean Philosophy can be defined in two ways: by the philosophy of the Axial Idea and by the philosophy of modern ideas. There are three periods in the history of Korean Philosophy: Korean original, traditional, and modern philosophy. Is there a distinct, Korean Philosophy? The distinctions of the Philosophy native to Korea are based on: 1) contents of “Josunchendook” (Sanhaegyung) 2) terms of “Gojosun,” (Samgukyusa) 3) “Punglu” (Samguksagi) 4) “Chenbugyung” (Handangogi). In these texts are these concepts: 1) the ideas of human respect in “Josunchendook”, 2) the philosophy of the mutual, respectful relations in “Gojosun”, 3) the synthesis ideas from three doctrines - Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism-in “Pungludo”, and 4) an integration of these three concepts (1 to 3) in “Chenbugyung”; their characteristic is state philosophy, and is seen as modern inter-subjectivity. The distinction of Korean traditional philosophy is one that contains thorough, synthetic ideas (e.g., Wonhyo's idea of one Buddhism that contains all Buddhist sects, Euichon's Chentaejong, Jinul's Jogaejong and so on). These ideas have achieved international renown due to their thoroughness and precision. All types of Korean, traditional philosophy have the trait of thoroughness, whether they stem from primarily Buddhist and Confucian thought. Korean modern philosophy includes the philosophical products (or thoughts) of seven Korean national societies of philosophy. Korean modern philosophy must study modern Korea society. It is changing the Candle spiritual Revolution. This Revolution claims not modern Rights of freedom, equality, and benevolence, but Rights to live all lives altogether. It is happening in the background of two fears: a fear of crazy ox and a fear of distrust society system. The Subject of candle Revolution is mass in the streets, networks, and homes. They have both sunin and democratic citizen minds. While candles fire in the streets, internets, and homes, Candle Revolution is continuing forever in Korean mind.