Fusion of Horizon in the Korean Enlightenment Movement: 1880-1900
- Yang, Ilmo
- Issue Date
- STOCKHOLMS UNIVERSITET
- Orientaliska Studier, No.148, pp. 133-146
- Fusion of Horizon in the Korean Enlightenment Movement: 1880-1900; 인문학; Korean Enlightenment Movement; Fusion of Horizon; Western Learning; Pak Yŏnghyo; Gadamer
- This paper aims to analyze the ideology of the early Korean enlightenment intellectuals by focusing on the fusion of horizons. The conception of horizon was derived from H. G. Gadamer’s phenomenology. According to Gadamer, ‘understanding is always interpretation, and meaning is always the fusion of horizons between the interpretation and the object’. I would like to argue that there were four horizons, that is, Silhak rooted in the late Chosŏn period, Chosŏn Confucianism, Chinese academism of 19th century and Japan’s New learning in the process of Chosŏn intellectuals’ understanding and interpreting the West in the late 19th century. In this paper, I will inquire into the complexities of horizons of Chosŏn enlightenment intellectuals by way of reviewing their two problematic questions. The first was whether Chosŏn was barbaric or not. The second question was whether Confucianism is unpractical. Finally I would like to bring forward the example of Pak Yŏnghyo’ “Kŏnbaeksŏ” (1888), which was addressed to King Kochong during his period of exile in Japan. I think it will be more wholesome approach to consider his work as a fusion between Confucianism and Western learning via Japan, rather than investigating its theoretical inconclusiveness, in order to reveal Pak Yŏnghyo’s complicated horizons, which incorporate all the horizons of Confucianism, Japan and the West
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