S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.35 (2005)
李珥의 人性論 : 『中庸』에 입각한 『孟子』의 재정립
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.35, pp. 275-318
- The Neo-confucianism in the Song dynasty set up the premise that ‘the true human nature is the principle(Xing Ji Li)’ by introducing the concept of ‘principle(li)’. This is the elevation of the good human nature common in Mengzi as well as in Zhongyong to the orthodox Confucian theory of human nature by means of the orization of good human nature on the ontological level. Thus, human nature as the principle is equal to the ‘benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom(Ren Yi Ye Zhi)’ in Mengzi and 'the heavenly human nature(Tien Ming Zhi Xing)' in Zhongyong. The theory of good human nature in Mengzi is composed of two different elements. That is, the original altruistic trend based on ‘benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom(Ren Yi Ye Zhi)’ and individual bodily desire. Zhengyi, Zhuxi and Yiwhang share same standpoint of dualism in this respect, since these philosophers all set principle(li) as the pure source of the altruistic feeling, setting disposition(qi) as the origin of individual bodily desire that leads to the evil. In this scheme, the good and evil have two different origins rooted in the nature, making good human nature segregated with the reality where the evil prevails. On the other hand, Zhongyong is based on the monism that places ‘the heavenly human nature’ with the individual desire on the same level. Thus, Yiyi, like Chengyi who defined the theory of ‘the original nature is principle(Xing Ji Li)’ equal to the ‘heavenly human nature(Tien Ming Zhi Xing)’ in Zhongyong, regarded the principle as the common source of altruistic nature as well as of the bodily desire. Consequently, he set the monistic theory on human nature. In this kind of monism, the good and evil is no more than qualitative difference of ‘Hitting(Zhong Jie)’ and ‘Missing (Bu Zhong Jie)’ and the evil comes from the bad conditions as the principle realize itself in the real world. Therefore, the good and evil forms the monistic principal and subordinate relationship. In this scheme, in spite of the overwhelming evil in the real world, the belief that the human nature is originally good remains valid, because the evil is merely blurred representation of the good. Yiyi transformed dualistic theory of human nature in Mengzi into the monistic theory on the basis of Zhongyong. In other words, ‘benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom(Ren Yi Ye Zhi)’ is the origin of the seven feelings that include altruistic feeling and bodily desire, whereas four origins(Si Duan) is the proper presentation of seven feelings. This means that the concept of ‘benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom(Ren Yi Ye Zhi)’ and the seven feelings was transformed into ‘heavenly nature(Tien Ming Zhi Xing)’ and the proper presentation of seven feelings in the monistic system of Zhongyong that embrace both, coming our of the dualistic scheme of Mengzi. Consequently, the belief of good human nature come to gain its validity in the realistic world by reconstructing the good and evil in the monistic principal and subordinate relationship that once was opposing each other.