Soren Kierkegaard Essay, Research Paper
Adam C. Schuyler
February 28, 2000
Existentialism is a philosophical movement that stresses on individual existence. Humans are totally free and responsible for their own actions. Man is not a detached observer of the world, he “exists,” he is “in the world.” Only man is in his own existence, nothing else can share that existence. Man has no set rules to follow nor are there a set number of choices he has to make. Man follows a simple piece of framework in which action and choice are to be portrayed, implying a right and wrong ways of making decisions, although man is totally free. Soren Kierkegaard is known as the “father of existentialism.” Kierkegaard was an accomplished writer and attacked other novelists for lacking life-development and life-view, two thing s that Kierkegaard thought to be necessary for someone to be a great novelist. Kierkegaard wrote and published many of his works attacking different novelists, one of which was a review of Hans Christian Anderson’s novel Only A Fiddler. Kierkegaard had different views on things such as Christianity, the way its clergy at that time was falsifying the religion to the people in Christianity’s name. Kierkegaard wanted to open up the public’s eyes to this falsification of Christianity, in order to do this he published a little journal called the Ojeblikket(The Instant). There were nine issues of this journal published, and the tenth was ready for publication, but Kierkegaard collapsed in the street and was taken to the hospital where he later died.
Soren Aabye Kierkegaard was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 5, 1813. Keierkegaard spent most of his life in his small own only leaving it three times in his life to travel to Berlin. Other than that Kierkegaard spent his time in the streets of Copenhagen talking to common people and taking countryside carriage rides. Soren was educated at a prestigious boy’s school, Borgedydskolen, after he left the boy’s school he attended the University of Copenhagen. At the university Kierkegaard studied in the fields of philosophy and theology. Some of the teachers that Kiekegaard had at the university included F.C. Sibbern, Poul Martin Moller, and H.L. Martensen. Sibbern and Moller were philosophers who also wrote fiction. They had quit an effect on Kierkegaard in his philosophical writings. Martensen had a negative effect on Kierkegaard, Martensen was a champion of Hagelism, and when he became the Bishop Primate of the Danish People’s Church, Kierkegaard published a written attack on Martensen’s theological views. Another important character in Kierkegaard’s life was J. L. Heiberg, the doyen of Copenhagen’s literati. Heiberg was responsible for introducing Hegelianism into denmark.
Kierkegaard spent most of his time trying to get into the Heiberg literary circle, Only to give up after he found his own voice in The Concept of Irony. From the Papers of One Still Living, this was Kierkegaard’s first major publication, it was an attack on Hans Christian Anderson’s novel Only A Fiddler. Kierkegaard attacked the novel for its lack of life-views and life-development, these are two traits that Kierkegaard had thought to be in a good writer. Kierkegaard believed that philosophers should be viewed in what they do, how they live their lives not by their intellectual facts. The existential view pertains in demonstrating how the life of a philosopher differs from the philosopher’s actions. The Christian ideal, according to Kierkegaard, is even more exact since the total of a person’s existence is the fact that a person God for that person’s righteousness. Kierkegaard’s father had a great influence on Kierkegaard’s belief and motives. He had inherited his father’s melancholy, and his father’s sense of guilt and anxiety. Kierkegaard also inherited his father’s philosophical argument and creative imagination. Kierkegaard looked up to his father and adored him very much.
Kierkegaard’s ethics have two differnt meanings in his works; (i) a limited existential sphere, or stage of life, this is superseded by religion;(ii) aspect of life that is retained with the religious life. Kierkegaard does recognize duties to a power higher than the social norms. He gives an example from the Bible, when Abraham was told to sacrifice his youngest son. Abraham was listening to a power greater than the social norms and his own normality. Kierkegaard’s concept on good and evil, right and wrong is based on God not basic formalities.
Kierkegaard describes his faith as not one who repeats the normality of church but of one’s passion towards God. This passion is not one that is directed by clergyman but by ones true self. Kierkegaard believes that faith is the most important task that a person can strive for throughout that person’s life, to become ones true self. Kierkegaard believes that this true self will be judged by God for eternity. The coice of faith is not made once and for all, but it is constantly renewed by one’s selfhood. The renewal of faith depends on us and how strong our selfhood stays, and if this self renewing process is not upheld our selfhood breaks down and we fall into despair. Kierkegaard express that the repetition of faith is how the self relates to itself and to the power in which constituted it, meaning the repetition of faith is the self.
Soren Kierkegaard would address a current social justice issue by judging that issue by the way of reasoning and how that justice issue would pertain to him and the ways of God. He would also look at the way people were handling the issue to see if the issue was that of great importance or that of a non-cinlusive argument that didn’t have any use or reasoning.