Juche in the Broader Context of Korean Philosophy

Philosophical Forum (2023)
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There is ongoing debate on whether Juche (주체/主體), the North Korean state ideology, is indigenous, Marxist-Leninist, or Confucian—or if it’s a real philosophy at all. In this article, I introduce Juche and show how characteristics that philosophers identify to be unique or pronounced in premodern Korean philosophy can be found in Juche as well. Intellectual adaptation, pragmaticism, and an emphasis on continual improvement are prominent in both premodern Korean thought and Juche. Juche should be understood as a politically inflected outgrowth that is embedded within the larger context of Korean philosophy.

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Hannah Kim
University of Arizona


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