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(pseudonym, Songho). Born 1682; died 1764. Korean scholar. Representative of the Sirhak movement.
Yi Ik came from a gentry family. Influenced by the ideas of Western European natural science, he criticized the feudal ideologies of neo-Confucianism and of Buddhist and Taoist mysticism. In his world view, Yi Ik was close to materialism, although he did not fully abandon the Confucian interpretation of the essence of the spiritual and the material principles. He severely criticized the existing sociopolitical order and declared reforms to be essential. Yi Ik worked out a program of democratic transformations of agrarian relationships. Of his 100 books (published in the 20th century), the most important is his Opinions on Various Things (Soesŭl yusŭn), which deals with works of the Confucian classics and problems of ethnography, astronomy, and geography.
REFERENCEChong Ching-sok, Chong Song-ch’ol, and Kim Ch’ang-won, Istoriia koreiskoi filosofii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1966. Pages 223–34. (Translated from Korean.)
M. N. PAK