Philosophy P335 ( 13649)/ P535 ( 28458): Søren Kierkegaard - PDF

Philosophy P335 ( 13649)/ P535 ( 28458): Søren Kierkegaard Spring 2011 Lecture Notes by Paul Vincent Spade Philosophy P335 ( 13649)/P535 ( 28458) Søren Kierkegaard: Spring 2011, Lecture Notes, by Paul

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Philosophy P335 ( 13649)/ P535 ( 28458): Søren Kierkegaard Spring 2011 Lecture Notes by Paul Vincent Spade Philosophy P335 ( 13649)/P535 ( 28458) Søren Kierkegaard: Spring 2011, Lecture Notes, by Paul Vincent Spade is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit Table of Contents Course...1 Readings... 1 First reading assignment... 1 Mechanics of the course... 2 Weekly quizzes... 3 Mid-term examination... 3 Term paper... 3 Peer reviews... 3 Plan of attack... 4 Life...5 His name... 5 What to expect...8 Writings...9 Kierkegaard s Writings (KW) and the Journals and Papers (JP)... 9 Pseudonymous vs. signed works Aesthetic vs. religious works Works in the authorship and the other works Some of the main works The Concept of Irony Either/Or Fear and Trembling Philosophical Fragments (or Philosophical Crumbs ) Concluding Unscientific Postscript Others Background on Hegel...19 Hegel...21 The standard picture...26 ii Reading Sources (1) Reaction to Hegel (2) Emphasis on the individual (3) A practical urgency to Kierkegaard (4) Kierkegaard s dialectic What are the three lifestyles? The aesthetic life Texts The ethical life The religious life, the life of faith Contrasts between Hegel s dialectic and Kierkegaard s stages on life s way Things to ask Criterionless choice Dread or anxiety Other notions in Kierkegaard Existence Truth The paradox Fear and Trembling...50 Preface The story of Abraham Situating the text Attunement First version (pp ) Second version (p. 46) Third version (pp ) Fourth version (pp ) General observation Speech in praise of Abraham (pp ) Preamble from the heart Offering the best you have iii The special case interpretation The context of his times The knights The structure of the knight of infinite resignation (p. 72) The aesthetics of the knight of infinite resignation The structure of the knight of faith The aesthetics of the knight of faith The knight of faith cannot make the additional movement on his own The first two problemata The first problema What Is the question? The ethical sense The personal preference sense Some suggestions First suggestion Second suggestion Third suggestion What s wrong with the standard picture?...77 Summary review of the standard picture Initial problems with the standard picture How many stages are there? How rare are criterionless choices? What about faith? The aesthetic life...83 Diapsalmata The dead club The First Love The last two essays Don Giovanni The upshot of it all The ethical...93 The Judge s diagnosis of the aesthetic The Judge s diagnosis of A in particular Conclusion Indirect communication, or the problem of the pseudonymous authors iv Nonsense about indirect communication Ineffability Other nonsense Sources on indirect communication Point of View Concluding Unscientific Postscript Two Lectures on Communication Conclusion Practice in Christianity Summary Kierkegaard s epistemology The title and the statement of the problem The issue A digression on Socrates and Plato Application to Kierkegaard The task of Fragments The moment Why make such an hypothesis? Pelagianism Repetition The story of Repetition The moral of the story What does it have to do with Fragments? Offense The contemporary The Concept of Anxiety Orientation The title page Other themes in the introduction Quantitative vs. qualitative change The two ethics Hereditary sin v Conceptual link with Sickness Highlights Hereditary sin vs. original sin We are all in the same situation as Adam Sin vs. sinfulness The individual and the race Anxiety The demonic Sin and sexuality The role of anxiety in faith How are we to read all this? The Sickness unto Death Contents of Sickness unto Death Three forms of despair A link between Sickness and Either/Or The Judge as in the third form of despair The Judge as a Pelagian Despair is a disease, not the consciousness of the disease Is despair a bad thing or a good thing? Anyone in despair is bringing it on himself Random observations Do the three forms of despair reduce to one another? Conscience Purity of Heart and Works of Love The Moment Kierkegaard on cannibalism vi Course Pass out Syllabus. Readings Susan Leigh Anderson, On Kierkegaard. (I ll say more about this later.) Bretall, A Kierkegaard Anthology. Fear and Trembling, Alastair Hannay trans. The Concept of Anxiety, Reidar Thomte trans. (Princeton series.) The Sickness unto Death, Alastair Hannay trans. Optional: Alastair Hannay and Gordon Marino, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard. There will be some assigned readings from this (the volume is on reserve in the main library), but not enough to warrant buying the entire book for those two items alone. (Nevertheless, it s a good book!) First reading assignment Your first reading assignment, which you should get started on right away: Anderson, On Kierkegaard. Read the whole thing; it s short. This is for general orientation and background. I ll have some more to say about this book in a moment. Also, the MacIntyre article from The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, on E-Reserves for this course. (I ll say more about our E-Reserves collection in a moment.) Cambridge Companion, Chap. 1, on SK s life and times, and a little more general orientation. (On the Extras page of our Oncourse site. I ll say more about our Oncourse site too in a moment.) Then. after that Cambridge Companion, Chap. 4, on SK s relations with Hegel. 1 Mechanics of the course Important parts of this course will take place on the University's Oncourse website (xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx). Both those who are taking this course under the P335 number and those taking it under the P535 number should go to the Oncourse tab for the P335 version. It reads: SP11 BL PHIL P Here on our Oncourse site, you will find: A copy of the Syllabus. Announcements relevant to this course. A quiz-taking utility, for (almost) weekly quizzes, as I ll describe in a moment. An Assignments utility, where you will submit all examinations and papers for this course in digital format. A page of instructions for how to do this. Toward the end of the semester, you will find a drop box, on Oncourse, the function of which is described in the Syllabus. A Post Em grade-reporting utility, where you can see your running grades for this course: quiz grades, examination grades, paper grade, comments, etc. (Note : I have to upload these grades manually from my Excel spreadsheet gradebook. So there will be some lag-time between, say, taking a quiz and seeing the results posted here.) I m not using the regular Gradebook utility on Oncourse, since I find the Post Em utility much more flexible. An archive, where you can view messages from me or your classmates relevant to this course. You can send ordinary from home on on-campus to xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, and it will be automatically forwarded to all members of this class and deposited in the archive on Oncourse for later viewing. I ll be using this utility to send you comments on the quizzes, for instance, or follow-up remarks on things that come up in lectures. Note that this utility is to be used only for matters relevant to this class. If you start abusing it and sending random s to everybody, I'll just have to reconfigure it so that only I can send mail through it. A link to our E-Reserves collection, run through the main library. You can go to that page either through the general Library website or directly through our Oncourse page. A page of suggested bibliography that may be useful to you in writing your term papers. This page also contains a list of things on our E-Reserves page. A page where I will post links to online versions of all class handouts that supplement the lectures. You will be expected to keep current with what is going on on this Oncourse site. 2 Weekly quizzes There will be a total of eleven more or less weekly quizzes in this course, starting next week. They will be conducted through Oncourse, outside the classroom. (Once on our Oncourse site, click on Original Test and Survey in the menubar on the left of your screen.) For the details of how these will work, see the Syllabus. On weeks when we are having a quiz, they will be available to take any time between Wednesday afternoon at 2:15 (right after our class is over) and the following Sunday midnight (strictly, Monday morning at 00:00.) The quizzes are meant to cover the kind of factual and basic conceptual material you need to keep straight if you are going to do any real work on Kierkegaard. They will be demanding, but as fair and reasonable as I can make them. Note: These are in a sense open book quizzes. You can use your textbooks, your lecture notes, on-line materials, things from the library, or other such materials when you take these quizzes. You can ask one another, if you like. You can go print out a copy of the quiz and then come back after you ve done some homework and actually fill it in and submit it later. There is really only one way you can cheat, and that s to have someone else log in as you and take it for you. But the way I ve set it up, why bother? Note: You only get to submit each quiz once, so be sure you have it the way you want it before you do. Mid-term examination There will be a mid-term examination (around mid-term, naturally). It will be submitted through the Assignments utility on Oncourse. For the details, see the Syllabus. Term paper There will be a full-dress term-paper due near the end of the semester. For the paper, I want you to do a philosophical analysis of some fairly extended passage or passages from Kierkegaard himself. In other words, I want your paper to be text-based (and not just an abstract discussion of overall themes or a what Kierkegaard means to me paper), but also philosophically sensitive (and not just a book report ). I will provide further advice on your paper, and some suggested topics, as we get into the semester. Peer reviews Instead of a final examination, we re going to try something a little different this semester. After you submit your term-papers through Oncourse, I will go through and assign you one or two papers by your classmates for you to read and review. (One if you re taking this course under the P335 number, two if you re taking it under the graduate P535 number.) These papers will appear in your Oncourse drop box, which 3 I ll turn on at that time for this purpose. By reviewing a paper, I mean in effect read it, grade it and write comments on it. These reviews will be due by the beginning of the final examination period for this class during finals week. Once they are all submitted, I ll submit the reviews of your own paper to the same drop box, so you can see what your classmates think of your own work. (This will all be done anonymously both ways. That is, you will not know whose papers you are reviewing, and you will not know who is reviewing your own paper. Depending on whether people turn in late papers, you may or may not get a review of your own paper back, or you may get more than one back.) Plan of attack Here s how we re going to proceed: First of all, I m going to give you a kind of capsule presentation of what might be called the standard view of Kierkegaard (if there is one). Some of you may have taken P135 with me before. And in that course, I ve given you a kind of standard picture of what SK is up to. This is roughly the picture you ll see in lots of surveys, histories and once-over-lightly treatments. If you ve taken P135 with me, or similar courses elsewhere, this much will be review and should sound pretty familiar. But I need to include it for the sake of those of you who haven t taken such a course before. (And for those of you have, I ll be including some further material you probably haven t heard before.) This is why I want you to read the Anderson book, and the MacIntyre article on E- Reserves. For my purposes, these are representative statements of the standard view. Then: We ll go on. In effect, this going on will amount to a test of that standard picture. It s not so much that the standard picture is just wrong (although I think a lot of it is), as that as we ll see there so much more to be said, and it s not nearly as tidy as it s sometimes presented. That s where we get into the good stuff, and that s what we want to spend the bulk of the semester on. What I want to talk about today, then, is a brief introduction to SK s life and times. On Wednesday, I want to talk about his writings, since he wrote a lot, and keeping track of it all is a complicated business. (I ve included a web page on this on our Oncourse site.) Then, next week, we ll talk about SK s philosophical context, who he was reacting against, the philosophical climate of the times, and so on. In particular, some background on Hegel. After that, I ll spend the next two weeks giving you a quick tour of what we re calling the standard picture, and introducing some basic concepts and notions in SK. This will involve our first actual taste of SK s writings, as given in the Syllabus. But our first in-depth look at a complete work of SK will come after that, when we talk about Fear and Trembling. I ve used this work a lot in P135, and so does almost everyone else who teaches Kierkegaard. It s undoubtedly his most widely read book, and 4 it s probably the best single work he ever wrote to get people really turned on and kick started about this guy. We ll see, I think, that although some of this will sound familiar if you ve taken my P135 before, and some of it will surely sound familiar from our presentation of the standard view things are not quite as we thought! And at that point, we ll be ready to get into the real thick of it! Life I ve put a fairly detailed chronology of Kierkegaard s life on the Extras page of our Oncourse site, compiled from several sources. You may want to consult that from time to time. (See also Anderson, Chap. 1, and Chap. 1 from the Companion.) If you re interested in more detail about his life, I should mention a major biography by Joakim Garff, first published in Danish in 2000, translated in 2005, and now available in paperback: Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography, Bruce H. Kirmmse, trans. (Princeton University Press, 2007). It s enormous, rather controversial, pretty inexpensive, and a pretty good read. I ve asked the Library to put this on physical reserves. Here are the bare bones of SK s biography: He was born on May 5, 1813, in Copenhagen, Denmark. He died in the same city on November 11, Note: He died when he was 42. So he was relatively young. A lot happened in a fairly short time. SK pretty much stayed in Copenhagen all his life. He did make a few trips to Berlin, but they were short and infrequent. And occasionally he would go visit somebody in the countryside near Copenhagen. But basically, he was a city-boy through and through. And he loved it. For all his caustic criticism of Copenhagen society (which we ll see as we go along), SK was obviously very proud of being a Dane, and of living in Copenhagen in particular. His name SK s name is: Søren Aabye Kierkegaard. The first name is a Danish form of the Latin Severinus (or Severus, for fans of Harry Potter). The ø in it is pronounced like German o-umlaut: ö, and is found spelled that way in some older Danish texts. (Round your lips as though you were going to say oh, and then holding your lips in that position say a long a.) In modern Danish, the double-a in his middle and family names is spelled with what English-speakers sometimes call a-ring å, taken from Swedish. It s pronounced roughly like aw, or even roughly (to an American ear) like a long o. (But the double-a is preserved in some place-names and in some traditional names. So we never see 5 Kierkegård.) D is never pronounced after r in Danish, so we get: Søren Aabye Kierkegaard. Basically, the surname Kierkegaard means churchyard. (In the modern spelling, there is a perfectly ordinary word kirkegård no e immediately after the i with exactly that meaning.) Just as in English, the word in Danish suggests cemetery, graveyard. This seems like a pretty unlucky name to be saddled with all your life, but there s a story behind it. An older meaning of the name is something like church farm or church grounds. ( Gård is related to English garden or yard. ) And in fact, that s where the family got its name: from an old social arrangement (leftover from feudal times) whereby the family tended sheep on lands (the farm ) belonging to the local Lutheran church up on the Jutland peninsula. SK s father in fact was originally a country shepherd in Jutland before he moved to the city (to Copenhagen) and made good. In fact, the father moved to Copenhagen in 1768, at the age of 11, and lived with an uncle, a successful dry goods merchant of men s clothing (a haberdasher ). When he was 21, he was officially released from his feudal obligations by the local Lutheran priest up there in Jutland. The father, Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard, proved to be a good businessman. At the age of 32, he branched out with the official blessing of the King of Denmark and got into the importing business, specializing in goods from the Danish West Indies what are now the Virgin Islands and from India and China. He was very successful. At the relatively late age of 37, in 1794, Michael married his business partner s sister, a certain Kirstine Nielsdatter Røyen, who was 34 or 35 at the time. She died childless, some two years later. In the same year, the uncle (whose house he and his wife were living in) died, and Michael Kierkegaard suddenly found himself in possession of a considerable fortune. When Michael himself died, sometime later (in 1838), Søren Kierkegaard our man inherited the bulk of the fortune, including the family house, and never had to work a day in his life at a real job. Søren was the youngest of seven children. But not by Kirstine, the woman his father had married in 1794 because, remember, she died childless shortly thereafter. Rather, the mother of all Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard s children was a certain Ane Sørensdatter Lund. She had been a family servant and kind of attendant to Michael s wife Kirstine. Well, after Kirstine s death, Ane Lund found herself in the family way, and she and Michael were married in Their first of seven children was born with unseemly haste soon afterward. Michael and Ane raised a family, and she died at the age of 66 in Whatever you want to make of it, our Søren says absolutely nothing at all about her. The family seemed to be jinxed. SK s father Michael was apparently a morbid, obsessed man. Not without fondness for his children, but he was a severe father, with a very 6 demanding and harsh view of religion not uncharacteristic for Denmark at the time, although Michael seemed to be especially taken with the severity of it. Michael also seems to have thought he had committed some literally unforgivable sin in his youth. Not his obvious lapse with the household servant Ane (later his second wife that wouldn t have been in his youth ), but much earlier before he had moved to Copenhagen as a child. (There is some uncertainty about exactly what it was. The following story did happen, but whether it was the source of Michael s melancholy is debated.) It seems that one day, when he was very young, he was tending sheep up there on that barren, windswept church farm in Jutland, and he finally had had enough, raised his fist and cursed God. This was a serious matter in the prevailing religious views of the time, and later Michael became convinced that this unforgivable sin of the father would be visited on his entire family. In a sense, he was right. Of the seven children Michael had with his second wife Ane, the oldest one a daughter died before she was 25. A second daughter died at 33, and the third child (also a daughter) likewise died at age 33. One son died from a blow to the head in a schoolyard accident at the age of 1
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