This book is an annotated translation, with introduction and commentary, of the correspondence between Yi Hwang (T'oegye, 1500-1570) and Ki Taesung (Kobong, 1527-1572) and between Yi I (Yulgok, 1536-1584) and Song Hon (Ugye, 1535-1598), known as the Four-Seven Debate, the most famous philosophical controversy in Korean Neo-Confucian thought. The most complex issues and difficult tensions in the great Neo-Confucian synthesis are at the juncture between the metaphysics of the cosmos and the human psyche. The Four-Seven Debate is perhaps the most searching examination of this tension ever carried out.
Michael C. Kalton is Professor of Liberal Studies at the University of Washington at Tacoma. Oaksook C. Kim is Director of the Korea Program at the University of California, Los Angeles. Sung Bae Park is Professor at the Center for Religious Studies, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
"This book introduces to an English-reading audience an extremely important issue in Korean Neo-Confucianism. Moreover, it shows how that philosophical debate was really about practical issues that arise in the course of moral cultivation. I find this book, particularly the introduction, the most lucid account of the origin, course, and significance of the Four-Seven Debate available in any language other than Korean, and it is better than most of the Korean material.
"The Four-Seven Debate has relevance far beyond Korean intellectual history. This book should be useful to people interested in philosophical or moral issues from a wide variety of cultural traditions. It will bring the Four-Seven Debate to the attention of scholars and writers exploring questions of evil and the human condition who would otherwise have been unaware of it." -- Don Baker, University of British Columbia