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Becoming a Self

by Merold Westphal

Publication Year: 1996

Becoming a Self provides a reader's guide to the book often taken to be Kierkegaard's most important contribution to philosophy and theology.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: History of Philosophy

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-x

The reader will find here a commentary on the whole of Concluding Unscientific Postscript, along with that famous portion of the text that deals with truth as subjectivity. My hope and expectation is that some readers will be interested in this interpretation of the entire work and that others, especially in classroom situations, will want to focus on such smaller themes as truth as subjectivity, ...

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Notes on Text, Translation, and Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xv

References to works of Kierkegaard in the text and the notes will employ the abbreviations in the following list, which also serves as a guide to Kierkegaard in English. The entire text of Postscript is found in the first volume of the Hongs' edition (the second volume contains introductory and supplementary materials). References ...

Part One. Introduction

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pp. 1-2

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Chapter One. Placing Postscript in Kierkegaard's Life

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pp. 3-7

Just about the time that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels completed their collaboration on The German Ideology, Soren Kierkegaard pseydomymously published a big book with a wickedly anti-Hegelian title, Concluding Unscientific Postscript to "Philosophical Fragments." It, too, was an assault on the German ...

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Chapter Two. Placing Postscript as a Pseudonymous Text

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pp. 8-19

In his biography of Mozart, Wolfgang Hildesheimer tells us that Kierkegaard "wanted to start a sect to revere Mozart, not above others, but exclusively."1 In a footnote, Hildesheimer refers to . The only problem is that Either/or is written by five different authors, none of whom is Kierkegaard.2...

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Chapter Three. Placing Postscript in the Theory of the Stages

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pp. 20-32

The pseudonymous authorship finds its penultimate conclusion in the works of Johannes Climacus, Philosophical Fragments and Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and its ultimate conclusion in the works of Anti-Climacus, Sickness unto Death and Practice in Christianity. In either its shorter or its longer form it has the ...

Part Two. Commentary

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pp. 48-49

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Chapter Four. Preface and Introduction: (Pages 5-17)

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pp. 35-48

Climacus praises the other pseydonyms for not misusing their prefaces to tell their readers what they are supposed to get out of their books (252). so it is not surprising that instead of using his own preface to tell the reader what the point of Postscript is and why it is important to the public, particularly at the present moment, ...

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Chapter Five. The Objective Issue of the Truth of Christianity: (Pages 21-57)

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pp. 49-58

Part 1, which is devoted to the objective issue of the truth of Christianity, takes up 37 pages in the Hongs' translation, while part 2, which is devoted to the subjective issue, requires 561 pages; so it should come as no surprise that part 1 does not address the objective issue for its own sake but only as a foil for introducing ...

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Chapter Six. The Subjective Issue - Something about Lessing: (Pages 63-125)

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pp. 59-99

A partial outline of Postscript woould look like this, with the numbers showing the number of pages in the Hongs' translation: . . . Part 1 (37) Part 2 (561) Section 1 (63) Section 2 (494) . . . It is clear that Climacus loves wildly unequal dyads, with the second of two elements being many times longer than the first. ...

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Chapter Seven. The Subjective Issue - Becoming Subjective: (Pages 129-88)

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pp. 100-113

This chapter might have been entitled "the ethical and the world-historical." In the previous chapter we watched Climacuc raise a moral objection to the hegelian system - which had been completed "without having an ethics" (if indeed it had been completed at all) - only to withdraw it and to turn to satire instead, giving ...

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Chapter Eight. The Subjective Issue - Truth Is Subjectivity: (Pages 189-300)

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pp. 114-133

Objectively put, the question of truth focuses on what I believe; subjectively put, on how I believe. Put more specifically in terms of the religious question objectively the question is whether what I am related to is "the true God," while subjectively the question is whether my relation "is in truth a God-relation" ...

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Chapter Nine. The Subjective Issue - The Subjective Thinker: (Pages 301-60)

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pp. 134-143

In no section of Postscript was Climacus in greater need of a tough editor. He becomes so repetitious that the recurrence of his central theme is less likely to evoke the musical analogy of a theme developed through reiteration in varied contexts (see chapter 5 above) than to evoke his own satire of the madman who ...

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Chapter Ten. The Subjective Issue - For Orientation in the Plan of Fragments: (Pages 361-84)

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pp. 144-149

At he heart of Hegelian philosophy is the triple claim that philosophy has the same content as religion, differing only in form; that Christianity is the highest form of religion; and that by virtue of its conceptual form, Hegelian philosophy is the highest form of Christianity. Climacuc wants to challenge the third claim ...

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Chapter Eleven. The Subjective Issue - Pathos: (Pages 385-561)

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pp. 150-179

Division 2 consists opf a long section entitled "Pathos" and a short one entitled "The Dialectical," since "an existence-issue is pathos-filled and dialectical" (386). The distinction points backward to the difference between Socates and Christianity in Fragments and forward to the difference between Religiousness A and Religiousness ...

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Chapter Twelve. The Subjective Issue - the Dialectical: (Pages 561-86)

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pp. 180-189

Climacus finds human existence to be paradoxical and contradictory. Its dipolar structure makes it an incongruous inseparability of elements that do not easily unite. He might have done this with the classical definition of humans as rational animals, saying that rationality and animality contradict each other. Instead ...

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Chapter Thirteen. The Subjective Issue - Conclusion Together with Appendix: (Pages 587-630)

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pp. 190-193

In the conclusion to his Postscript, Climacus makes it clear that his primary goal is to distinguish, and thus protect, Christianity from two unreasonable facsimiles: Hegelian speculation and a certain orthodoxy that he calls childish (603). Both present themselves as the highest form of Christianity, but both represent "the ...

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Chapter Fourteen. Beyond Postscript: The teleological Suspension of Hidden Inwardness in Religiousness C

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pp. 194-200

The writings of Johannes Climacus constitute a prophetic double challenge to Nietzsche. By distinguishing Christianity from Platonism, first without distinguishing Plato from Socrates (Fragments) and then in the context of a sharp distinction between them (Postscript), he protests Nietzsche's habit of lumping them ...

Part Three. Text

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pp. 201-202

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Text. Part 2, Section 2, Chapter 2 Subjective Truth, Inwardness; Truth Is Subjectivity

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pp. 203-254

[189] Whether truth is defined more empirically as the agreement of thinking with being or more idealistically as the agreement of being with thinking, the point in each case is to pay scrupulous attention to what is understood by being and also to pay attention to whether the knowing human spirit might not be lured out into ...

Select Bibliography

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pp. 255-256


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pp. 257-261

E-ISBN-13: 9781612490496
E-ISBN-10: 1612490492
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557530905
Print-ISBN-10: 1557530904

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 1996

Series Title: History of Philosophy