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Is it possible for concepts to serve as a witness for the modern times? This is the very question that is now guiding the modern conceptual history. According to Reinhart Koselleck, a leading practitioner in the field, ‘the modern’ is a linguistic outcome where hope and prediction toward ‘the new time’ are expressed through historical consciousness. With this outcome, there appeared an irredeemable gap between the experience of the past and the expectation toward the future. The conflict over conceptual establishment began to have social and political impact. As a result, the goal of conceptual history took shape, which is to grope for new expectation toward the future amid the collapse of traditional society. At the core of this process is the semantics of ‘Perspektivbegriffe’ which both expresses and leads the modern. One of those cases is the concept of ‘history.’ The usage of ‘history in general,’ which was expressed as singular generic before the French Revolution, came to show a coefficient of temporal change. This new concept of ‘history’represented temporal quality along with that of ‘progress’ on the horizon of abstraction and universality. In Korea, ‘history’ was accepted at first as a term referring to a foreign discipline. It soon promoted itself to a concept of movement reflecting the collapse of traditional society. ‘The present,’ which called out ‘history’ amid the crisis of imperialism,came to be considered the most important time and brought about hope and expectation breaking away from the past experience. It is noteworthy that there existed in this semantics traditional elements surviving through the formation of modern concept. In many cases, ‘history’ could not escape from the symbolism of traditional moral instruction, so it incurred a nostalgic mood and memory about the mythical age, and served as an ideological means to glamorize national characteristics. Accordingly, it is not easy to gain valuable witness for the unilinear modern times. Hence the need to find out a new heuristic principle. Modern study of metaphor may provide a clue in that Korean concept of ‘history’ contains basic meanings more than others. It will be the methodological task of Korean conceptual history to include symbolic and pictorial elements preceding the conceptual formation or underlying the base of concept.