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Korean J Med Hist > Volume 7(2); 1998 > Article
Korean Journal of Medical History 1998;7(2): 179-197.
몸의 윤리학: 스피노자와 이제마에 있어 몸의 윤리적 의미에 관한 고찰
Ethics of the Body: A study on the ethical meanings of body in Spinoza and Yi Jae-Ma
In Sok Yeo
Department of Medical History, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Michel Foucault has brought some considerable changes in our way of seeing human body. He argued that the body is not merely a natural object, but a medium of numerous social messages and even the most favorable habitat of power. According to him, the birth of social institutions, such as asylum, clinic, jail, have been closely linked to the process of modernization and further the very process through which the body becomes an object of social control has been an important part of our modernization. He proposed a new concept, viz., the social stigma carved on body and provided us certain clues that makes us think newly of the boundary between nature and culture. Although his arguments opened a new perspective on our body, it did have a premise of so-called "the passivity of body" as its limitation. The body is not just a purely natural object, nor a purely social construction. It resides at both sides simultaneously and the disease, an incident happened within the body, reveals subtle relationship between these two. Those who see the body as an object of power as such or a medium of certain social messages tend to consider it only as an objective being, yet on the other side of this standpoint, the Cartesian dualism is hidden as a premise. Deleuze defined, in his book on Spinoza, the ethics of Spinoza as a practical study mainly dealing with the mode of existence. Provided that this definition is correct enough, we may term this practical study for the mode of existence of the body as the ethics of the body. Spinoza proposed a very unique view with regard to the body, which differs from that of the Cartesian Dualism. It is based on the entire system of his philosophy, viz., the system of the univocity of substance and the immanence of being which finally appears in the form of ethics. In the later half of this article, a very unique medicine whose starting point is none other than this kind of ethics, a practical study for the mode of existence, was dealt with. It is named Sasang(Four Symbol) medicine which was founded upon the long tradition of one of the most profound ethical teachings of mankind, Confucianism. Sasang medicine of Yi Jae-ma is in a sense a continuation of the Neo-Confucianism tradition of Korea in the field of medicine.
Key Words: Body, Ethics, Spinoza, Yi Jae-Ma, Sasang Medicine, Confucianism
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