이 글에서 말하는 ‘동양적’ 전통은 동양인의 여러 가지 차별적 전통을 넓게 포괄하는 단일한 전통을 가리키면서 동시에 서양적 전통에 비하여 특이한 전통을 가리킨다 도덕교육에 있어서의 동양적 전통은, 1) 규범의 의미와 정당성은 언설을 통해서 전달되는 것이 아니라 일상 사태에서의 행동을 통해서 전달된다는 것과, 2) 도덕교육은 오로지 도덕적 행동의 원천인 ‘심성’을 함양하는 데에 목적을 둔다는 두 개의 명제로 압축될 수 있다 도덕교육의 동양적 전통은 지식교육, 예술교육, 종교교육과 더불어, ‘추상의 오류’와 ‘순환론의 오류’를 근본 원리로 삼는 교육이론의 한 특수적 양상을 나타낸다 전통적으로 동양의 교육은 ‘비실용적 공론’과 ‘비민주적 사기’에 입각하여 그것에 일관된 인간을 형성해 왔다는 점에서 비판의 대상이 되었다 동양교육과 동양인에 대한 이 그릇된 비판은 교육이론의 동양적 전통을 정확하게 드러냄으로써 불식될 수 있고 불식되어야 마땅하다.
Presumably, there is the oriental tradition in moral education, that is both unitary over and above the diverse traditions within the oriental culture and distinct from that of the West. The tradition in this sense can be summed up in two principles or propositions; 1) that the meaning and validity of moral norms cannot be transmitted through verbalization of such norms but through the behavior in the actual life situations, and 2) that the sole aim of moral education consists in the cultivation of the Mind-Nature , or the primordial mind, as the source and standard of moral behavior. It should be noted that, in the oriental tradition, moral education comprises, along with intellectual, aesthetic and religious education, an aspect of the total education. Accordingly, the above-stated propositions taken together suggest rather straightforwardly what may be audaciously called the oriental tradition of educational theory . Oddly enough, the traditional oriental education is seen to be based upon the two unmistakable errors of formal logic, i.e., the error of abstraction and the error of circularity. The former arises in the context of the interconnection of educational content and life-situations, and the latter in the context of the justification of educational content. The two errors, which are genuine and should be avoided in formal logic, are inescapable in any education aiming at the cultivation of the Mind-Nature. In other words, the two formal logical errors are overcome or nullified in the practice of education. It is by virtue of theses errors that the traditional oriental education has been the most prominent target of the usual criticism of education in such terms that it is totally unconnected to utilitarian needs and that it is in reality nothing but a subtle form of indoctrination. In this criticism, the traditional oriental education has been successful only in producing fools and deceivers, or rather deceiving and deceived fools. It is time to correct this unpardonable theoretical mistake by formulating the true oriental theory of education in the last detail, which will make it amply clear that the traditional oriental education is indeed the supreme form of education that any human being can enjoy.