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A Relation between the Mind and the Body in Confucianism

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2006, (38), pp.185-216
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities

Eom Yeonseok 1

1한림대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

This essay tries to illuminate which character and meaning lie in the relation between mind and body in Confucianism, when compared with the theory of mind-body relation being summed up the philosophical conversayion about a body lately. Confucianism values more the meaning of as that of moral act than as the subject of perception. In Confucianism during pre-Ch’in dynasty, it could be said that the mind and the body were dichotomously divided according as they respectively correspond to the moral will and the subject of desire. But when mind becomes a subject which awakens the internal and moral narure, body can be a positive masetr who observes a law such as li禮 and actualizes the morality. On the other hand in Neo-Cofucianism the original mind and the material body, which respectively rely on the concept of li理 and chi氣, have the mutual opposed meaning by being interpreted evaluatively. Therefore according as whichever the mind observes between the li of the nature and the material desire, which are distinguished as the opposed twin moraly, mind and body are united monistically or divided dichotmously. Now then, the Neo-Confucianism新儒學 theory of mind-body relation can be discussed more meaningfully in viewpoint of the moral cultivation of mind and nature in preference to the ontological or metaphysical meaning. In sum, Confucianism begins with the cultivation of one's mind and body, and finishs with the practice of his bodily organization for the purpose of the realization of the moral nature. This eventually means that the body has been interpreted more positively in that the moral nature must be realized in connection with the body. That Confucianism has interpreted the body affirmatively and positively with relation to the moral practice would offer the new evaluative insight to the contemporary philosophical conversation of the body.

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