The historical significance and contemporary relevance of the four-seven debate

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 62 - Review of books or of software (or similar publications/items)peer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-429
Journal / PublicationPhilosophy East and West
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


This essay concerns some of the ways that the Four-Seven Debate, as represented by the extensive and systematic exchanges between Yi Hwang 李­滉 (Toegye 退溪) (1501–1570) and Gi Dae-seung 奇大升 (Gobong 高峰) (1527–1572) and further developed in the correspondence between Seong Hon 成渾 (Ugye 牛溪) (1535–1598) and Yi I 李珥 (Yulgok 栗谷) (1536–1584), has been and remains philosophically significant for people today. It first attempts to describe why those involved in the Four-Seven Debate took it so seriously and were inspired to produce such a remarkable legacy. It then endeavors to show how the debate relates to issues that have been explored by important thinkers within the Western philosophical tradition and how these remain problems for contemporary moral metaphysics and moral psychology.