The Dialectics of Communication

  • George Pattison
Part of the Studies in Literature and Religion book series (SLR)


We have surveyed the immediate background of Kierkegaard’s thought with regard to the relationship between art, philosophy and religion and we have indicated something of his own standing vis-à-vis the various positions represented in this background. We have also seen how his early journals offer the outline of an ambitious account of the dialectics of the aesthetic consciousness, showing (in a manner not too far removed from that of Hegelian-ism) how that consciousness develops towards an increasingly dialectical, interior, subjective and, ultimately, despairing standpoint. At this point Kierkegaard’s own distinctive psychological perspective comes into play and he indicates that the resolution of the contemporary malaise of aesthetic nihilism can only be found in an individual, personal faith, such as that which he characterises as ‘humour’. At the same time the origin of the aesthetic consciousness itself is shown to be in a form of ’unhappy consciousness’, a failure to respond adequately to the profound psychological and spiritual contradictions of human existence. This is then the basis for a psychological reduction of aesthetics which is carried over into the mature authorship and which points to the state of angst as both the ground and the limit of the aesthetic consciousness.


Indirect Communication Christian Communication Modem World Rational Soul Theological Student 
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  1. 20.
    Paulo Freire, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972) pp.45ff.Google Scholar

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© George Linsley Pattison 1992

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  • George Pattison

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