top_2_1.jpg top_2_2.jpg
The Four-Seven Debate
An Annotated Translation of the Most Famous Controversy in Korean Neo-Confucian Thought
The Four-Seven Debate
Click on image to enlarge

Michael C. Kalton - Author
Oaksook C. Kim - With
Sung Bae Park - With
Young-chan Ro - With
Tu Wei-ming - With
Samuel Yamashita - With
SUNY series in Korean Studies
Price: $52.50 
Hardcover - 253 pages
Release Date: March 1994
ISBN10: 0-7914-1751-4
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-1751-5

Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 253 pages
Release Date: February 1994
ISBN10: 0-7914-1752-2
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-1752-2

Available as a Google eBook
for other eReaders and tablet devices.
Click icon below...

Summary Read First Chapter image missing

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.

"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

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. Youngchan Ro is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at George Mason University. Tu Wei-ming is Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilization at Harvard University. Samuel Yamashita is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Pomona College.

Bookmark and Share

Table of Contents

Translator's Preface



Introduction to the Four-Seven Debate

The Four-Seven Debate
The T'oegye-Kobong Debate
The Yulgok-Ugye Debate
The Importance of the Four-Seven Debate

1. T'oegye's Letter to Kobong

2. Kobong's Letter to T'oegye on the Four Beginnings-Seven Feelings Thesis

3. T'oegye's Reply to Kobong Arguing the Distinction ofthe Four Beginnings and Seven Feelings in Terms of Principle and Material Force

4. Kobong's Response to T'oegye's Letter Discussing the Four Beginnings and Seven Feelings


5. T'oegye's Reply to Kobong's Critique of Distinguishingthe Four Beginnings and Seven Feelings in Terms of Principle and Material Force, with a Revised version of His First Letter

Revised Draft of T'oegye's First Letter

Second Letter Replying to Kobong's Critique

6. Kobong's Response to the Second Letter

7. Kobong's Postscript Explanation of the Four Beginnings and Seven Feelings

8. Kobong's General Summary of the Four Beginnings and Seven Feelings

9. Ugye's First Letter to Yulgok on the Four-Seven Debate

10. Yulgok's Response to Ugye's First Letter

11. Yulgok's Response to Ugye's Second (Missing) Letter

12. Ugye's Third Letter to Yulgok

13. Yulgok's Response to Ugye's Third Letter

14. Ugye's Fourth Letter to Yulgok

15. Yulgok's Reply to Ugye's Fourth Letter

16. Ugye's Fifth Letter to Yulgok

17. Yulgok's Reply to Ugye's Fifth Letter

18. Ugye's Sixth Letter to Yulgok

19. Yulgok's Reply to Ugye's Sixth Letter

Letter on Principle and Material Force



Selected Bibliography


Related Subjects

Related Titles

The Sage Returns
The Sage Returns
Ironies of Oneness and Difference
Ironies of Oneness and Difference
Xunzi and Early Chinese Naturalism
Xunzi and Early Chinese Naturalism
A God's Own Tale
A God's Own Tale
Forget Chineseness
Forget Chineseness
Somatic Lessons
Somatic Lessons
Peking University
Peking University
Demographic Change and the Family in Japan's Aging Society
Demographic Change and the Family in Japan's Aging Society
In the Shadows of the Dao
In the Shadows of the Dao
The Poetics of Decadence
The Poetics of Decadence