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The Place of the World in Kierkegaard’s Ethics

  • M. G. Piety

Abstract

The decline of Marxism has left an ideological vacuum in Eastern Europe and many scholars in this part of the world have begun to turn to Kierkegaard for insights into the nature of genuine community or of the role of the individual in society. This move may seem odd to those who view Kierkegaard as the father of twentieth-century existentialism. Fortunately, however, existentialism is just as dead as Marxism and so are many of the other ‘-isms’ (e.g. positivism, Freudianism, structuralism) that define what has come to be known as ‘modernity’. This means that the task of identifying the social and political significance of Kierkegaard’s thought has become less problematic than it was when interpretations of Kierkegaard were so often laden with anachronistic existentialist ideas.

Keywords

Religious Knowledge Genuine Community Prefer Translation Ethical Prescription Ethical Reality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    This essay makes an argument that is very similar to the one made in my article, ‘The Reality of the World in Kierkegaard’s Postscript’ (in Robert L. Perkins (ed.), International Kierkegaard Commentary: Concluding Unscientific Postscript (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1996)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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    Cf., e.g., Robert Widenman, ‘Kierkegaard’s Terminology and English’, in Kierkegaardiana VII (1968), pp. 116–18Google Scholar
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  7. 17.
    The Hongs translate ‘evigt anlagte Vœsen’ as ‘the being intended for eternity’. The expression ‘to intend’ was not, however, an acceptable translation of ‘at anlœggé in the first part of the nineteenth century. Ferrall and Gudm. Repp, for example, define’ at anlœggé as ‘to found, establish, construct’ (J. S. Ferrall and Thorl. Gudm. Repp, A Danish-English Dictionary [Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1845] p. 16)Google Scholar
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  10. 23.
    Birgit Bertung, Om Kierkegaard, Kvinder og Kœrlighed — en studie i Søren Kierkegaards kvindesyn [On Kierkegaard, Women and Love: A Study of Kierkegaard’s Views on Women] (Copenhagen: C.A. Reitzel, 1987) p. 24.Google Scholar
  11. 25.
    Cf. CUP I, p. 320. This is, in fact, a recurrent theme of the Postscript which, it has been argued, is actually a polemic directed against the ‘peculiar epistemology [egenartet Erkendelseslœre]’ of Martensen (Arild Christensen, ‘Efterskriftens Opgør med Martensen’ [The Confrontation with Martensen in the Postscript in Kierkegaardiana (IV) 1962, p. 48.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Poul Lübcke, ‘Selvets ontologie hos Kierkegaard’ [Kierkegaard’s Ontology of the Self] in Kierkegaardiana (XIII) 1984, p. 58.Google Scholar
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    Cf., e.g., Birgit Bertung, Kierkegaard, Kristendom og Konsekvens [Kierkegaard and the Logic of Christianity] (Copenhagen: C.A. Reitzel, 1994) pp. 60Google Scholar
  14. M. Jamie Ferreira, Transforming Vision: Imagination and Will in Kierkegaardian Faith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991) p. 37Google Scholar
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  17. 32.
    Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984) p. 40.Google Scholar
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    Alastair Hannay, Kierkegaard (London and New York: Routledge, 1982) p. 160.Google Scholar
  20. 40.
    SV XII, 285. At the time of writing I was unable to locate this text in any of the existing English translations of Kierkegaard. The text is entitled ‘To Taler ved Altergangen om Fredagen’ [Two Discourses at the Communion on Fridays] and is from 1851. It has since been published in Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong, Without Authority (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  21. 49.
    Cf., e.g., PC, p. 172. Cf. also, M.G. Piety, ‘Kierkegaard on Religious Knowledge’, in History of European Ideas 22: 2 (1996) pp. 105–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 59.
    Jørgen K Bukdahl, Om Søren Kierkegaard (Copenhagen: C. A. Reitzel, 1981) p. 53.Google Scholar
  23. 61.
    Hermann Deuser, ‘Kierkegaards Verteidigung der Kontingenz: “Daß etwas Inkommensurables in einem Menschenleben ist”’ [Kierkegaard’s Defence of Contingency: ‘That there is something Incommensurable in a Human Life’] in Kierkegaardiana 15 (1991) p. 113Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

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  • M. G. Piety

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