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[Vol.29 (2018)] Yi I’s Understanding of Human Beings as Viewed from Ibn Sina’s Perspective
Author : YOO Weon Ki
Date : 19.03.25
Page : 41-62
Keyword : Yi I (Yulgok), Ibn Sina (Avicenna), monism, dualism, human nature, Korean Neo-Confucianism, Islam
Abstract :


This paper attempts to view and evaluate Yi I’s (Yulgok, 1536-1584) theory of human beings from Ibn Sina’s (Avicenna, 980-1037) perspective. This is a new attempt to discover the possibility of a mutual understanding between Korean philosophy and Islamic philosophy, which has never been attempted before, either in Korea or elsewhere. As noted, Yi I was an eminent Neo-Confucian philosopher from Korea, whereas Ibn Sina was an eminent Islamic philosopher from Uzbekistan. At first glance, they hardly seem to have any direct connection; indeed, there is no evidence that they learned about each other. Nonetheless, it is still possible to compare their philosophies since both of them were, at least, deeply interested in the matter of understanding human beings. As a typical though distinct Neo-Confucian scholar, in the investigation of human beings, Yi I primarily tried to set up an ontological basis for moral nature which is understood as naturally aiming to become a sage through self-cultivation. However, unlike many other Neo-Confucian scholars of his day, he presented a monistic view rather than a dualistic one in that he strongly emphasized the inseparability of ri (principle) from gi (material force). As noted, ri and gi are the components of human beings and so all properties or characteristics must stem from either or both of them. However, the Islamic philosopher Ibn Sina would object to Yi I’s understanding of human beings, since he maintained that human souls were capable of being separated from their bodies at the time of death. In this paper, I shall examine his reason for this claim and compare it with Yi I’s view. In doing this, I shall focus on discovering what sorts of logical inconsistencies or faults they had, if any, and whether we can provide any solutions to make up for them.

 

Attachments : 3. YOO.pdf


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