There is a fundamental divide between the ways of thinking peculiar to the East Asian tradition and the West, which makes them appear incompatible. This divide must be crossed to arrive at the ideal of universal humanism and the relevance of Korean studies to it. However, there is an epistemic boundary of questioning delimiting problems that could be raised, in the East and the West. The East Asian horizon of intellectual inquiry is exclusively directed to moral questions, that is, its content and method are characterized by moral pragmatics. Both East and West have their concepts of universal humanity, but they have their differences in basic orientation and ways of thinking. Even if their adventures in reflective thinking appear to point to the same or a similar end point, a synthetic whole would emerge only from a process of organically coherent thinking. A unitary cogitative process is by definition unbroken, and initiating such a process can result in repairing and restoring the ruptured relationships among components of the different systemic approaches. Universalism must start anew, with attempts to understand and explain new realities—new partly because of the breakup of past wholes. A new program of understanding is necessary; examples from the past could also serve to illuminate new realities—in the interest of constructing a more comprehensible and humanly meaningful totality.


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pp. 1-42
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