Søren Kierkegaard: Conscious opposition and crucial contention

Danish thinker Søren Kierkegaard certainly remains one of the rebels and emphatic iconoclasts of 19th C Europe. An unorthodox writer and thinker of wit and elegance, imaginative, God-faith oriented and equipped with a melancholic bent while straddling a broad range of authorial positions (as is known, much of his influential work was published using pseudonyms) -- his earliest publications ‘Either/Or’ (Feb 1843) and ‘Fear and Trembling’ (Oct 1843) I found a bit tricky to unpick, to say the least, as it became difficult to place Kierkegaard precisely in relation to the likes of ‘Victor Eremita’, ‘Judge Vilhelm’ and ‘Johannes de silentio’. I revisited Kierkegaard through my readings on ethics, especially through Wittgenstein’s interest in Kierkegaard, with Wittgenstein voicing that “Kierkegaard was by far the most profound thinker of the last century….”. Indeed, Kierkegaard, remarkably laid the foundations of ‘Existentialism‘ which emerged as a philosophical movement many decades after him, only in the early to mid 20th C. In his conscious opposition to the prevailing assumptions and conventions of his age (his antipathy and hostility to the Church and the academic establishment, professors inclusive, is well known) and in his crucial contentions about the human condition (of doubt, faith, love, spirit, flesh, paradox, choice), Kierkegaard remains relevant to this day.

Listen in to a discussion on the radical ideas of Søren Kierkegaard with BBC Radio 4’s Melvyn Bragg in conversation with John Lippitt, Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Religion at the University of Hertfordshire; Jonathan Rée, Visiting Professor at Roehampton University and the Royal College of Art and Clare Carlisle, Lecturer in Philosophy (then) at the University of Liverpool, UK.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

 

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