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Søren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855)

Go BackChristian Existentialist
Facing Christian Nothingness
Although Kierkegaard's writing covers a wide range of topics and interests, he is most known for his intensely personal, though highly theoretical retrieval of the problems of human freedom, self-determination and religious faith.  His treatment of such topics was unique for the 19th Century, at least until the advent of Nietzsche's thought which comes much later toward the end of the century.  In reaction to the prevailing Hegelian climate, Kierkegaard confronts an idealism that he believed had lost touch with the reality of the human condition, a reality fraught with unanswerable questions, impossible decisions, confusing emotions and dreadful uncertainties.  Kierkegaard forces us to entertain the possibility that, perhaps the onto-metaphysical foundations of the world are without reason, that God and his plan for the world make no objective sense at all, that perhaps the world is in reality, absurd...

If the world is absurd, what do we, as self-determining agents, do about it?

Not surprisingly, Kierkegaard's personal confrontation with such questions brings his writings passionately into the religious realm, but unlike the Hegelian Idealism of his time, based upon personal experience, Kierkegaard's philosophical approach abandons traditional, academic, disembodied attempts to give so-called objective, logical proofs for the existence of God, or rational justifications for the way the world is.  Rather, Kierkegaard attempts to develop a type of living faith that commits to and embraces the actuality of an ultimate unknowing.

What is striking about Kierkegaard's work is its autobiographical nature.  As many of the titles suggest, the driving force behind Kierkegaard's philosophical investigations was his own, personal confrontations with the human predicament. 

Between 1834 and 1835, Søren writes in his notebook:

"What I really need is to come to terms with myself about what I am to do, not about what I am to know, except insomuch as knowledge must precede every act. It is a matter of understanding my destiny, of seeing what the Divinity actually wants me to do; what counts is to find a truth, which is true for me, to find that idea for which I will live and die."

Such an impassioned response to basic metaphysical questions (Why?) becomes the groundwork for an entire tradition of philosophy called Existentialism, a tradition as romantic as it is desparate.

Online Resources
coverThe Great Philosophers : The Disturbers : Descartes Pascal Lessing Kierkegaard Nietzsche : Philosophers in Other Realms : Einstein Weber Marx by Karl Jaspers, Edith Ehrlich (Translator), Leonard H. Ehrlich, Michael Ermarth (Editor).  

The fourth and final volume of a late modern philosopher's critical study discusses the contributions of Descartes, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Weber, Marx, and Einstein, and notes the various influences on their theories.

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Anthony Storm's Kierkegaard Website (Archived)
This web site is devoted to commenting on the writings and writing method of the nineteenth century existentialist philosopher Soren Aabye Kierkegaard. Besides a commentary on Kierkegaard's writings, there are two essays on Kierkegaard's authorship, a biography, bibliography, images and much more. This site is dedicated to "That Solitary Individual."

 

Charles Louis Creegan Site (Archived)

Papers by Charles Louis Creegan

  • "Kierkegaard's Relations with Postmodernism and Feminism" 
  • "Kierkegaard- Eithers and Ors"

 

International Kierkegaard Information

Hosted by ITS at the University of Tasmania, Australia

The International Kierkegaard Information website provides the following features:

  • Kierkegaard Societies and Institutions all over the world are listed with active links for quick and easy contact.
  • Current conferences, courses, meetings, calls for papers, and other events with set time-limits, are listed with their links. 
  • IKI now lists under resources information about sources of Kierkegaard help of different kinds.
  • IKI makes available the INTERNATIONAL KIERKEGAARD NEWSLETTER from 1991 onwards, with the current IKN for the year in an 'as is' web-based format.

Site includes:

  • Societies and Institutions 
  • Conferences and Seminars 
  • Resources 
  • International Kierkegaard Newsletter 

 

Kierkegaard -- Biography

From island-of-freedom.com 

Excerpt:

Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher and religious thinker who wrote literary and philosophical essays that reacted against Hegelian philosophy and the state church in Denmark, setting the stage for modern existentialism. Kierkegaard was born in Copenhagen, the youngest of seven children. He spent his formative years under the influence of his melancholic and devoutly religious father whose teachings stressed the suffering of Christ. Kierkegaard went to study philosophy and theology at the University of Copenhagen, where his personal despair grew, leading him to the therapeutic decision to become a cleric and marry his fiancée Regine Olsen, the daughter of a treasury official. Shortly after completing his doctoral dissertation, The Concept of Irony (1841), he broke the engagement, partly for fear that he and his fiancée might lack common philosophic interests, but he gave the impression of acting out of a brutal and indifferent selfishness in order to make the breach definitive. Thereafter he embarked on a life of seclusion and a writer's career that produced a constant flow of books over the next ten years with at least twelve major philosophical essays.

 

Kierkegaard -- Life and Work (Archived)
Essay by F.J. Billeskov Jansen. This is a very informative, fairly detailed and in-depth essay about Kierkegaard's life, his works, and his influence.

 

Kierkegaard Manuscripts at Det Kongelige Bibliotek

Site includes:

 

Kierkegaard On The Internet (Archived)
This excellent website is maintained by Ilse Mogensen.

Site Includes:  

  • Introduction To The Philosopher
    By the Danish authors Frithiof Brandt and Peter P. Rohde.
  • Resources On The Web
    A comprehensive and updated list of links.
  • Kierkegaard Web Library
    Publish your Kierkegaard-paper on the Internet.
  • News And Announcements
    Users own forum for announcements, news etc.
  • Kierkegaard Discussion Forum
    Users forum for discussion and exchange of information.

 

The Kierkegaarden (Archived)

This site includes biographies, excerpts from manuscripts, periodic (sometimes daily) quotes, etc.

 

Kierkegaard Translation Project in Portuguese (Archived)

 

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