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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 36, 2008

Philosophy of Culture

Myeong-jin Nam
Pages 314-330
DOI: 10.5840/wcp22200836537

A Study on Dongyi (東夷) culture′s Origin of Yi (易) Philosophy

The oriental culture has generally been known to bloom in China in regional framework, and established the form of a country in ancient times, and continuously develop as Yu (虞) / Xia (夏) / Yin (殷) [Shang=商] / Zhou (周) in periodical framework. There are several documents to discover the origin along with archaeological and cultural configuration related to prehistory tales or the history of tribal settlement in ancient times. Unfortunately, however, there were few outputs that unveiled the original source in cultural or theoretical angles. Generally, a certain race and a local culture can be a good resource to be considered, the base of ideology, and further, the root of philosophy in a country. It can be found that, in comparison with pre-history legends and archaeological research results, the source of Chinese philosophy is mainly composed of exterior cultures from foreign settlers rather than its own one. In short, it is possible to set up the preposition or hypothesis that the source of Chinese philosophy and thoughts was not from Han (漢) race, but from old Dongyi (東夷) race. Thus, it is necessary to study deeply on that point as a key clue, linking the characteristics of Zhouyi (周易) philosophy' which is the origin of Chinese philosophy to Dongyi culture. As mentioned in the passages above, it was demonstrated that the fundamental issue of Yi philosophy lies in the principle of time operation in Tiantao (天道), and the formulation of Yi philosophy, and through the analysis of fourteen saints in the process of review of Shengtong, (聖統) the stream of old saints by the principle of Lishu (曆數) more than half of saints were from Dongyi family. In addition, the historical fact that the Dongyi tribe had raised the Yin (Shang) culture which mainly formed the base of Chinese cultures as a ancient dynasty shows the deep relation between Zhouyi and the Dongyi culture, and further, it seems that the relation was from the tribe's realization of the principle of time operation of Heaven which had been accumulated for a long time as the culture of agricultural settlement, the conceptual characteristics in the Dongyi culture, and it can be found that the cultural characteristics are in connection with Yi philosophy which considers the principle of time operation in Tiantao as the fundamental ground. It also can be detected that they have connection with the original meaning of several concepts in Yixue (易學) and the culture which emphasize the bottom line of the nature of time. This study focused on questioning issues of these findings as a preliminary research in order to prepare for the formal works which will scrutinize the details of circumstances. In brief, the fact that the fundamental issue of Yi philosophy which is the source of Chinese philosophy lies in the nature of time in the operation of Tiantao should be demonstrated, and the matter that the root was from the Dongyi family who had lived in the north-eastern area in the ancient period and had raised the culture which stressed the principle of time operation as the agricultural settlement culture, and moved to the central area of old China should be unveiled through the trace, which, in the future, might be able to enlighten roots of thoughts in Chinese philosophy in the right course, and make them realize that the work process which is being operated in the north-eastern part would be of no use in the after all.