“What is “”Philosophy”” to Us? A History of Contemporary Korean Philosophy after the Reception of Western Philosophy” introduces the history and development of philosophy in Korea. This book suggests how a purely Korean philosophy might develop in the future. Many of the philosophical terms in use today are those translated in the last 70 years. Korea imported Western philosophy in the 1920s and 1930s when the nation was under the Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945). These terms include freedom, equality, right, individual, human rights, justice, democracy, time, space, duty, and responsibility. This book explores the origin of these philosophical concepts and terms. The volume also explains how philosophers of the 1930s explained reason, rationality and science. These thinkers did not view Western philosophy as a foreign study but accepted and interpreted it in a familiar and natural way. They believed that philosophy should be firmly based on reality. This may seem surprising since these scholars graduated from Gyeongseong Imperial University in Japan or studied abroad. Chapter 1 explains the major trends and characteristics of Korean philosophy in its early stages. Chapter 2 analyzes the problems Korean philosophers considered in the 1970s. It was during that period that discussions concerning a precise understanding of science began. The study of the philosophy of science was divided. One was the positivistic approach based on the analytical philosophy of American thinkers; the other was the anti-positivistic approach developed by German philosophers who focused on phenomenology and hermeneutics. Korean philosophers influenced by the so-called post-Popperians became important in the early 1980s. One of the main concerns of the author is how Korean philosophers understand reason and tradition. In Chapter 3, the author makes suggestions about the future of Korean philosophy. First, the author maintains that scientific knowledge should have human aspects. Second, Korean philosophy should consider the existence of “The Others.” The author has adopted Emmanuel Levinas’ concept of “The Others,” that Identity should embrace “The Others.” Third, the author maintains that modernism and postmodernism differ in their interpretation of reality. Although modernism interprets reality as a single entity and postmodernism denies its existence, the author maintains that reality, along with language, exists in multiple layers. Chapter 4 introduces the reader to the study of the history of philosophy in Korea. The focus is on the translation of philosophical terms since the 1930s into Korean. The author insists that the translations were influenced by Germany and Japan during the Japanese colonial period.
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