Silhak (실학) was a teaching that was once very famous in the Joseun Dynasty, in Korea. Sil means "actual" or "practical," and hak means "studies" or "learning". It also meant "practical learning", like teaching how to farm and about economy.
Silhak was first made when the Joseun Dynasty was having a hard time, and after Japan had made war with them. The people of Korea were very poor, and their economical situation was not good. Also, all the farmland had grown and it was very hard to farm. To prevent all of this trouble, instead of learning neo-Confucianism, some philosophers decided that a new education should be made to help the poor, and they named it Silhak.
- Kim Yuk, 1580–1658, introduced into Korea a new calendar, and supported technology.
- Yi Su-gwang, 1563–1627, scholar-official who introduced Western science, religion, and to Korea.
- Yi Minseo, son of Yi Su-gwang
- Heo Mok, 1595-1682
- Yu Hyeong-won, 1622-1673, showing what is sometimes called the first generation of Silhak scholars and made a "public land system" where the state would give the land for the farmer to use.
- Yi Seo-woo, 1633-1709,
- Yi Ik, 1681–1764, of the second generation of Silhak scholars, founder of the Gyeongsechiyongpa (경세치용파 經世致用派 School of Administration and Practical Usage), helping economy, and government . This is known as the "equal field system" and was supposed to give enough land for each farmer to live. Yi Ik, different to the neo-Confucians, believed that subjects such as geography and mathematics could be real teachings.
- An Jeong-bok, 1712–1791, student of Yi Ik.
- Yun Hyu, 1617–1680
- Park Se-dang, 1629–1703
- Shin hoodam, 1702-1761
- Park Ji-won, 1737–1805, center of the Iyonghusaengpa (이용후생파 利用厚生派 School of Profitable Usage and Benefiting the People), helped industry, commerce, and the introduction of foreign technology.
- Sin Gyeong-jun, 1712–1781
- Wi Baek-gyu, 1727–1798
- Hong Dae-yong, 1731–1783, was a person who studied the space.
- Yi Deok-mu, 1741–1793
- Pak Je-ga, 1750–1815, was a part of the Northern School of Silhak and was particularly angry of the civil service tests (kwago), which was made to pick the most intelligent men to serve the government but had become corrupt and allowed unintelligent men into government.
- Kim Jeonghui, 1786–1856, representing the Silsagusipa (실사구시파 實事求是派 School of Seeking Evidence)
- Jeong Yak-yong, 1762–1836 (informally known as "Dasan"), leading the third wave of Silhak. Like a number of other Silhak scholars, he was interested in some Christian ideas. He suggested a "village land system," in which the village would hold its land in common and farm the land as a whole, while the products of the land would be divided based on the amount of labor. He wrote The Mind Governing the People (목민심서) and argued that a high social class order with the king at the top was not good.
- Baker D (1999), A different thread: Orthodoxy, heterodoxy and Catholicism in a Confucian world, in JHK Haboush & M Deuchler (eds.), Culture and State in Late Chosŏn Korea. Harv. Univ. Press, pp. 199–230.
- Kalton, Michael (May 1975), "An Introduction to Silhak", Korea Journal vol. 15 (issue 5): 29~46
- Cho, KyuYoung (Winter 2006), "Implication of Korean Traditional Epistemology in Planning Theory: Focusing on the Pragmatic Philosophy of Silhak", Korea Journal vol. 46 (issue 4): 168~191