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Kierkegaard as Phenomenologist

An Experiment


Publication Year: 2010

Kierkegaard has undoubtedly been an influence on phenomenological thinking, but he has rarely if ever been read as a phenomenologist himself. Recent developments in phenomenology have expanded our conception of the discipline itself and the varieties of experience it can address.

Published by: Northwestern University Press

Front matter

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

List of Abbreviations of Works by Kierkegaard

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction: Kierkegaard and the History of Phenomenology

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pp. ix-xxiv

During April 1928, the Kiev-born philosopher Lev Shestov, then making his home in France and teaching at the Sorbonne, attended a conference in Amsterdam where he met Edmund Husserl, with whom he would maintain a cordial friendship for many years. He had already published on Husserl and indeed was instrumental in introducing Husserl to France, and Husserl, despite disagreements with him, had taken an interest in his intense polemical thought, which vigorously protested...

Part 1: Beginnings and Method

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p. 1-1

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The Elusive Reductions of S

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pp. 5-22

If the idea of Kierkegaard as a phenomenologist is to be considered at all rigorously, the question whether there is one reduction (or more) in his thought must be posed and answered. Perhaps the question does not need to be answered in the affirmative, however, for there are people who subscribe to a phenomenology without any reduction. Not all of Husserl’s students made the move from the realism of the...

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Kierkegaard Between Fundamental Ontology and Theology: Phenomenological Approaches to Love of God

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pp. 23-35

Heidegger sets the tone for a consideration of Kierkegaard’s work as phenomenological when, on each of three occasions in Being and Time, he recognizes in some of the latter an extraordinarily penetrating grasp of our condition, but suggests that his insights are nonetheless without support by an adequate ontology.1 Kierkegaard, we are told, has been a good “psychologist” with unsurpassed sensitivity to the existentiell dimension...

Part 2: Self-Consciousness and Self-Givenness

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p. 36-36

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Divine Givenness and Self-Givenness in Kierkegaard

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pp. 39-56

There is an obvious sense in which Kierkegaard is not a phenomenologist, whether in his own name or through his pseudonyms. He is not inspired by or working in the tradition of Husserl, or Heidegger, or Scheler, or Merleau-Ponty, or even Levinas, who insists that he is a phenomenologist1 even though he seeks to develop “an intentionality of a wholly different type” and holds that “not every transcendent intention has the noesi snoema...

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Freedom Through Despair: Kierkegaard’s Phenomenological Analysis

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pp. 57-78

Despair is not a common theme in contemporary philosophical treatments of the issue of free will—the freedom, in some sense, to choose and make decisions. Dominating these treatments for the most part are two closely related questions, the question of the necessity of the presence or perception of alternative possibilities for this freedom and the question of its compatibility with a completely causal account of human...

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Self-Givenness and Self-Understanding: Kierkegaard and the Question of Phenomenology

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pp. 79-97

How to make sense of the question: Kierkegaard and phenomenology? What is it about? It is, of course, about reading Kierkegaard, but it is also about asking the question: what is phenomenology? Instead of taking our point of departure in some established idea of phenomenology, we should look at the motive in calling what one is doing phenomenology. This approach is in line with how phenomenology begins or establishes...

Part 3: God and Experience

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p. 98-98

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A Phenomenological Proof? The Challenge of Arguing for God in Kierkegaard’s Pseudonymous Authorship

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pp. 101-127

Despite the extraordinary variety and richness of its pseudonymous and nonpseudonymous views, standpoints, and perspectives, Kierkegaard’s authorship as a whole seems absolutely unanimous when it comes to assessing the meaning and viability of the so-called proofs for the existence of God. There can be no doubt that in Kierkegaard’s opinion all pertinent attempts are and must be not only deeply fl awed, but also highly dubious in terms of their ethico-religious implications—a foolish...

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Kierkegaard and the Phenomenology of Temptation

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pp. 128-148

As a topic of phenomenological inquiry, temptation is a particularly intriguing theme: in temptation, an enticing project, a possible course of action, is given, and at the same time I am aware of an obligation to resist its solicitations. Because of this interplay between enticement and conviction, temptation is phenomenally very rich. But it is also a very challenging phenomenon insofar as it implicates so many different facets of the self.1 A complete phenomenology of temptation would also need to...

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The Meaning of “Negative Phenomena” in Kierkegaard’s Theory of Subjectivity

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pp. 149-166

In one of his earliest autobiographical notes, Kierkegaard introduces what can be considered as a programmatic principle for his whole philosophical oeuvre...

Part 4: Conclusions and Questions

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p. 167-167

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Kierkegaard: Reenchanting the Lebenswelt

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pp. 169-187

Is Kierkegaard a phenomenologist? If by “phenomenology” one means the method employed by Edmund Husserl, then the answer is clear: Kierkegaard is not a phenomenologist. That is, you will not find in Kierkegaard anything resembling Husserl’s phenomenological reduction— his suspension of the so-called “natural attitude” as a way of reaching what he calls the “pure phenomena.” Neither will you find any mention...

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Kierkegaard and the Limits of Phenomenology

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pp. 188-209

In considering the question of Kierkegaard and phenomenology, I should perhaps begin by specifying more closely just what I am understanding by the term “phenomenology.” It would clearly go way beyond the scope of this essay to argue for the definitive status of one or the other version of phenomenology. Instead, I shall limit myself to stating what I am assuming are the features of phenomenology most relevant to the question of Kierkegaard and phenomenology...


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p. 210-210

E-ISBN-13: 9780810164611
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810126817
Print-ISBN-10: 0810126818

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: New
Volume Title: 1