Asia Institute Seminar Series “The Horizons of East Asian Thought” | The Asia Institute


Asia Institute Seminar Series 

“The Horizons of East Asian Thought”

Opening on Wednesday, December 31 2014  @ The Asia Institute Office (see map below)

The rise of European culture as the banner of imperialism in the 18th century established Western philosophy and science as the only great tradition for the entire world. East Asian philosophy was little more than a branch of anthropology and could not be considered as on a par with Plato and Kant.

But Asia’s economic rise and the contradictions of Western modernity have led scholars to reconsider the stature of the East Asian tradition—going as far as to see it as a reflection of the great Western tradition, but perhaps as also containing elements that can lead us forward.

The time has come for us to look again at the Chinese and Korean tradition, the great philosophies of the past, and think about how they can present new paths for us towards a more just and sustainable future.

This seminar is not a hermeneutic debate on syntax and semantics However, rather we will consider the historical context of each philosopher as a means of grasping the uniqueness of the system he presented and consider what its implications are for us in the present moment.


The seminar is intended for internationals in Seoul who  speak English, but all English speakers are welcome.

The course will continue for three-weeks, twice a week (Wednesdays & Sundays). Each seminar will last two hours. The seminar stresses discussion, as opposed to lecture, so careful preparation and active participation are encouraged. There will be opportunities to employ PowerPoint presentations as part of the discussion. would be minimized and active discussion between members be encouraged.

Wed, Dec, 31th: (Opening Session)

Confucianism: The Essence of Politics – Confucius: The Scholar Wandering from State to State

-Mencius: A Man of Courage pleading for human goodness

Sun, Jan 4th: (Second Week)

Taoism: Inaction (wuwei 無爲) and Naturalness (ziran自然) -Laozi: The Nietzsche of East Asia, breaking down dogmatism and becoming a good ruler -Zhangzi: Free and easy wandering as the ultimate freedom

Wed, Jan 7th: (Third Week)

Indian Buddhism and Zen -Indian Buddhism: How to free yourself from suffering -Zen Buddhism: Beyond dogmas and linguistic boundaries

Sun, Jan 11th: (Fourth Week)

Neo-Confucianism, the Metaphysics of Confucianism -Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming: What is the essence of humanity?

Wed, Jan 14th: (Fifth Week)

Korean Buddhism -Wonhyo: Harmony and integration of all beings through understanding of mind

Sun, Jan 17th: (Sixth Week)

Choseon Neo-Confucianism
– Toegye and Yulgok: The debate on the primacy of Li and Ch’i

We require reservations in advance and we limit the number of participants to eight for each seminar. We prefer participants who will attend all six sessions. Participants will be accepted in order of application. The fee is 5,000 Won for each session. Please register in advance.

Please send payment to bank account below.

Hana Bank 190-910375-82207
Heekyoung Pae 

And send email With contact information to confirm your participation to: