Korean women philosophers and the ideal of a female sage: essential writings of Im Yunjidang and Gang Jeongildang

New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press. Edited by Hwa Yeong Wang (2023)
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Abstract

Korean Women Philosophers and the Ideal of a Female Sage: The Essential of Writings of Im Yungjidang and Gang Jeongildang introduces the lives and thought of two Korean women Confucian philosophers from the late Joseon Dynasty (18th -19th century), Im Yunjidang (1721-93) and Gang Jeongildang(1772-1832), and sketches some of the ways their work can contribute to contemporary philosophical inquiry. Both women are known for arguing, on the basis of distinctively Confucian philosophical claims about the original, pure moral nature shared by all human beings, that women are as capable as men of attaining the highest forms of intellectual and moral achievement and thereby can become female sages (yeoseong). The fact that they lived in a highly patriarchal culture presented special challenges, but the conditions of their individual lives offered unique opportunities and exerted different kinds of pressure upon them, which subsequently was manifested in their distinctive versions of a generally shared vision. This book explores how they were able to overcome both the general and particular challenges of their place and time and go on to live impressive and exemplary lives. We also shows how their resistance and response to the patriarchal context of late Joseon society and the different challenges they faced in the course of their individual lives informed the content and style of their philosophy and produced original philosophy that remains of great value to us today.

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Philip J. Ivanhoe
University of Hong Kong

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