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Conclusion: The Influences Of Social Darwinism In Korea (1900s And After)

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Chapter Summary

Social Darwinism's position in early modern Korea's ideological history is unique. Many of the prominent Social Darwinism-influenced thinkers in Korea from the 1880's to the 1900's-Yun Ch'iho , Yu Kiljun, So Chaep'il, were in different periods entrusted with high governmental offices. Social Darwinism had greatly changed the intellectual life of Korea's educated urban society-and, consequently, also the thinking of commoners, to the degree it could be influenced at all by the new trends among their social 'betters'. Typical for Social Darwinist rhetoric in Korea from 1905-1910 were, for example, the lamentations of a well-known activist, YunHyojong. The relativization of ethics brought about by the Social Darwinist shift in educated society's discursive paradigm could imply a variety of choices. The totalising nature of the Social Darwinist picture of a competing world implied a interest in the 'rise and decline' of states other than Korea and its regional neighbours China and Japan.

Keywords: China; Japan; Korea; So Chaep'I; Social Darwinism; Yu Kiljun; Yun Ch'iho

10.1163/ej.9789004185036.i-255.58
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