S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) Center for East Asian Studies (동아문화연구소) Journal of S.N.U. Institute for Asian Studies (동아문화) 동아문화 Volume 54 (2016)
소학과 대학, 타율적 윤리와 자율적 윤리
Xiaoxue(小學) and Daxue(大學), Heteronomous Ethics and Autonomous Ethics
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 동아문화연구소
- 동아문화, Vol.54, pp. 109-119
- Zhu-Xi said ‘practicing Xiaoxue during one’s early age to get back the lost heart-mind(放心) and to cultivate virtue later in Daxue forms one’s base of examining loyalty and achieving tasks.’ and emphasized the importance of learning Xiaoxue. The main aim of studying in Daxue about how to ‘examine loyalty and achieve tasks’ is to accomplish one’s moral character. Therefore, generally it is believed that the relationship between Xiaoxue and Daxue is ‘the cultivation and accomplishment of morality’.
I also agree with the relationship between Xiaoxue and Daxue mentioned above. In this article, I focused on the idea that Zhu-Xi’s ‘method of moral cultivation in Xiaoxue’ is different from his ‘method of moral accomplishment in Daxue’. At Xiaoxue, Zhu-Xi expected moral development by paying attention to behaving according to the moral standards already exist(typically etiquette). On the other hand, at Daxue, he expected moral accomplishment by emphasizing the examination of the meaning and appropriateness of those moral standards practiced until then.
Xiaoxue and Daxue’s study methods contrast with each other in terms of ‘acceptance of existing moral standards’. In the case of small children, when they accept and practice those existing moral standards, it is not easy to refer them to as ‘autonomous’ even though they may not be under any physical or emotional compulsion. The reason is that the children did not really choose to do so. As a result, the process of encountering existing moral standards becomes necessary and only after this whole process is finished can we refer them to as ‘autonomous’. ‘Moral cultivation and accomplishment’ in Xiaoxue and Daxue in the end means ‘transition from heteronomous ethics to autonomous ethics’ and ethical subjectivity establishes during this process.