Free SOAS lecture – the Confucian Spirit of ethical practicality

Here are the details of Friday’s free evening seminar at SOAS at 5pm in G52

Dr. KIM Daeyeol (INALCO, Paris): Reviving the Confucian spirit of ethical practicality: Tasan’s notions of “human nature” (性) and “heart-mind” (心)

Further information about the seminar and the speaker are as follows:

One of the representative figures from the late Chosŏn period who criticized the idealism of Chosŏn Neo-Confucian learning, Chŏng Yagyong 丁若鏞 (1762-1836), or Tasan 茶山, looked forward to reestablishing a Confucian worldview that would be inseparably united to life and action. His deist interpretation of “Sovereign in High” (上帝) as being moral and sensible to human affairs provides an ontological basis to his theory on original human nature. He defines human nature, with which everyone is granted by the celestial decree (命), in terms of moral inclination (嗜好). And the latter gives human beings the impulsion necessary to reach self realization. To the Neo-Confucian theory that aims to understand and develop the principle inherent to the universe and to the human being, he substitutes a theory that, according to him, allows us to act and realize the Confucian ideal through practices and human relations.

Specializing in History of religions and Anthropological studies of religion, Daeyeol Kim is trained in particular for East Asian classical studies. Through his doctoral thesis (2000, University of Paris-Sorbonne), he contributed to a better understanding of the alchemical practices and their relative religious elements from ancient China by studying both technical knowledge and belief systems. Since 2001, he has taught Korean history and culture at the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO). And, since 2005, he has been interested in the cultural/intellectual life of 18th and 19th century Chosŏn Korea.

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