Chong Yagyong: Korea's Challenge to Orthodox Neo-Confucianism

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SUNY Press, May 23, 1997 - History - 232 pages
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During the last decade, Chong Yagyong also known as Tasan, the eighteenth-century Korean thinker who dared attack the hallowed orthodoxy of his dynasty, has become a household name in Korea. In this study, the first ever in English, Mark Setton presents a highly readable analysis of the world view behind Tasan's reforms. Setton challenges the very concept of a school of "Practical Learning, " presenting an alternative view of Tasan's historical background in terms of the interplay between Confucian schools and political factions. By carefully decrypting Tasan's philosophical writings, Setton shows that he was not simply a reformer bent on unraveling the ruling ideology, but an incisive thinker who sought to "draw aside the veil" of Buddhist and Taoist-inspired Neo-Confucian commentaries and uncover the pristine message of Confucius and Mencius. On the basis of this classical scholarship, Tasan sought for points of resonance between Confucianism and the Catholicism which had deeply inspired him in his youth. Comparing it with parallel schools of thought in both China and Japan, including the "Evidential Learning" of the Ch'ing dynasty and the "Ancient Learning" movement of the Tokugawa, Setton shows that Tasan's rigorous scholarship represents a major contribution to the development of East Asian Confucianism, particularly concerning unresolved issues such as human nature and the foundations of morality.
 

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Contents

Tasans Intellectual Heritage
9
The Road to Tea Mountain
53
Tasans Classical Learning
67
Tasans Classical Learning Ching Evidential Learning and Tokugawa Ancient Learning
123
Back to the Su and the Sa or Forward?
139
Major Works
145
Notes
149
Glossary
189
Works Cited
201
Index
217
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Mark Setton is Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Studies at State University of New York at Stony Brook.

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