Korean Women Philosophers and the Ideal of a Female Sage: The Essential of Writings of Im Yungjidang and Gang Jeongildang

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 任允摯 堂 (1721-93) and Gang Jeongildang 姜靜-堂 (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, 女聖). The fact that they lived in a highly patriarchal culture presented special challenges and this study explores how they were able to overcome these challenges and, on the one hand, live impressive and exemplary lives while, on the other, how it informed the content and style of their philosophy.

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