Korea University Department of Political Science and International Relations

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Political Thoughts


Political Thought is more than a field within Political Science-it is, an important sense, its foundation. However politics or Political Science is defined, there is a need to understand both normative and empirical problems in politics. Political Thought deals with the normative aspect of Political Science. In this regard, it demonstrates the limits to Political Science and allows us to understand what we know and what We do not. Political Thought teaches us what questions to ask in Political Science.

Political Thought is divided into three general areas of study. The first looks at the history of political thought. This historical aspect of political thought is itself divided into three periods, with three basic Concentrations. The major periods are ancient, medieval, and modern and the three Concentrations are Western, oriental and Korean. The second area of study is Political Philosophy. Political Philosophy is premised on a normative, universal and abstract approach to Political Science; it encourages us to think carefully about the Contemporary values of politics. The third area is Political Ideology. In this area, research centers on liberalism, Conservatism, and socialism. The objective is to identify the relationship between political thought and reality.

Political Thought has developed with the overall advancement of Political Science. In the past, like most other academic fields, research in Political Thought revolved around western political thought. This reflected an ethnocentric bias in the development of Political Science, but this tendency has recently been challenged. Today, there is much greater interest in other traditions, including the Korean intellectual tradition. A great deal of effort is now being exerted to understand normative problems that arise in domestic politics through the lens of Korean political thought.

The Department offers a number of basic Courses, including: Korean Political Thought," "Oriental Political Thought," "Ancient and Medieval Political Thought, and "Western Political Thought. Advanced Courses include: Politics and Political Philosophy, Contemporary Political Theory," "Confucian Political Thought, Contemporary Korean Political Thought, the Comparative Study of Oriental/Western Political Thought," "Study of Philosophers, and "Special issue Studies on Political Thought."

The Department has three faculty members who specialize in and teach Political Thought:
Professor Byung-Kon Kim has expertise in the study of liberalism and modern political thought
Professor Hong-Kyu Park is a pioneer in Oriental and Korean political thought
Professor Nam-Kook Kim is involved in various research activities in Contemporary political philosophy focusing on citizenship, human rights, and multiculturalism.