Vernadsky meets Yulgok: A non-western dialog on sustainability


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This article starts by noting the general lack of acknowledgment of alternative traditions in the dominant western sustainability discourse in education. After critically analyzing the western human–nature relationship in the context of Enlightenment, modernity and colonial expansion, this article introduces two non-western ecological discourses from Eurasia and Asia, Noöspherism and Neo-Confucianism, which offer clear contrasts to the western sustainability framework. Using theoretical argumentations, the article goes on to examine the cosmological and ontological categories expounded by Vladimir Vernadsky of Russia and Yulgok Yi of Korea, whose philosophical foundations with unique foci on the anthropocosmic and cosmoanthropic types of human–nature relationships could well be alternatives and/or additions to the dominant western discourse. The article concludes with a twofold comparison: between Eurasian and Confucian heritages, and these two with the mainstream western ecological discourse. Copyright © 2016 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-520
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory: Incorporating ACCESS
Issue number5
Early online dateFeb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Savelyeva, T. (2017). Vernadsky meets Yulgok: A non-western dialog on sustainability. Educational Philosophy and Theory: Incorporating ACCESS, 49(5), 501-520.


  • Neo-confucianism
  • Vernadsky
  • Yulgok
  • Ecological discourses
  • Sustainability education
  • Noöspherism


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