Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions. Yu Hyongwon and the Late Choson Dynasty - James B. Palais

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New Schools: Conservative

Restraints on Radicalism

"If in some matter there should be some doubt, the students should discuss it,
ask questions about it, and thus distinguish between what is right and wrong, but
a student cannot simply criticize his teacher on the basis of his own opinions."!
"Do not read any books that have not been written by the sages, and do not
look at any writings that arc of no benefit."2

"The 'families of scholars [sajok], are sons of scholars and officials lsahu],
and they arc members of that group because of their surnames and lineages

We have seen that Yu Hyongwon adopted the advice of the Sung masters to
reestablish the essential institutional features of the ancient Chou dynasty: offi-
cial schools and the recommendation of worthy men as the means to refurbish
the moral capacities of the people and the excellence of its corps of bureaucratic
leaders. His regulations for the actual operation of his proposed schools will tell
us more about the intent and purpose of his school system, in particular the means
by which he chose to assess the acquisition of moral knowledge, given his bias
against written examinations, the degree of openness and freedom he would allow
in the search for knowledge, and the way he would handle technical and spe-
cialized information in view of the Confucian prejudice in favor of general knowl-
edge. Last, but not least, we will tum our attention to the way that he handled
the egalitarian emphases of academic instruction in the face of strict distinc-
tions between people based on status to assess the type of society he hoped to
achieve by his educational reform.


Mass Education Confucian Style: The Segmented Bamboo

In proposing his plan for schools, he only called for the immediate establish-
ment of schools to accommodate young men from the age of fifteen se (thirteen

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