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Existential Dimensions of Korean Neo-Confucianism: The Status of Emotions in the Four-Seven Debate

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This article presents an existential reading of the famous Four-Seven Debate (Siqi Lunzheng 四七論爭). In particular, it approaches the Debate with specific attention to the ways in which it isolated and problematized the human individual situation in communal life. It attempts to analyze the diverse perspectives that were brought into the Debate, and to demonstrate that there was a sophisticated system, with many variations and movements, that informed Korean understandings of how to manage emotions as within the context of sage learning (shengxue 聖學). This study also seeks to uncover the underlying therapeutic measures for treating wayward emotions that were an underlying component at play in all of the important contributions made throughout the many twists and turns within the Debate.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, Sogang University, Seoul 04107, Korea ; 2: Department of Philosophy, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE, 68154, USA E-mail:


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