Kierkegaard (The Arguments of the Philosophers) by A. Hannay

By A. Hannay

This examine of Soren Kierkegaard, showing for the 1st time in paperback and particularly revised by way of the writer, is a complete and important exam of this influential, yet elusive determine. regardless of Kierkegaard's refusal to build a theoretical edifice within the demeanour of Hegel, Alastair Hannay indicates how he still used philosophy in a scientific option to make clear problems with spiritual religion, morality and ethics. This publication will be of curiosity to scholars and lecturers of philosophy and theology.

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Finally, the comparison with Hegel brings to the fore something which too much attention to Kierkegaard’s nearly always critical remarks on Hegel can easily lead one to lose sight of: namely that although Kierkegaard limits philosophy (or ‘dialectic’) to an ancillary role in relation to his paraphilosophical ends, the role he intends for the ’ 20 TURNING HEGEL OUTSIDE-IN paraphilosophy itself is as embracing in its scope as that intended by Hegel for his philosophy. This raises a further point.

32 Given that Hegel’s account of the unhappy consciousnessdeliberately attempts to reconstruct a mode of consciousnesscharacteristic of Christianity (and Judaism), a considerable similarity between Hegel’s account and the ‘life-view’ or ‘world-view’ underlying Kierkegaard’swritings is only to be expected. In fact, much of what directly emergesof Kierkegaard’sunderlying view reads not only like a one-to-one confirmation of the accuracy of Hegel’s account but as a source of supplementary detail. To list some of the essential points: first, Kierkegaard stressesan ‘absolute distinction [or difference] ’ between man and God,33 ensuring that the ‘essence’of the former, in Hegel’swords, appears as an ‘unattainable beyond’,34 and thus denies that man possessesthe means of his own self-fulfilment.

To secure the possibility of its harmony with the whole of existence, the individual must have recourse to the Deity. The position is still an immanent one, however, because,although existence contains no adequate means of bringing the individual into harmony with the 37 TURNING HEGEL OUTSIDE-IN whole of existence, existence itself usa whole is conceived as being ‘borne by’ eternity. 69 The finite individual therefore retains an essential relationship to the eternal. But the eternal itself and the relationship to it can only be conceived negatively; though the source of the finite’s intrinsic value, it is itself something ‘other’ than the finite, and the relationship to it, the means of accessto that value, involves the self-renunciation (and ‘consciousnessof guilt’)‘O which involves what Kierkegaard calls living in the finite but not having one’s life in it.

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