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Summary Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855) is generally considered to be the father of existentialism. Kierkegaard’s father, a wealthy retired merchant, was a Pietist and hence encouraged his sons Peter Christian and Søren Aabye to study theology at the University of Copenhagen. Kierkegaard received the degree of Magister Artium in 1840, though by that time his interest has shifted from theology to philosophy. He had hoped to receive an academic position in philosophy, but those hopes were never realized. He was closely tied, however, to academic circles, and was, in fact, one of the leading intellectuals of what has come to be known as the Danish “Golden Age.” Kierkegaard was primarily a polemical writer whose works were often responses to the works of contemporaries such at Hans Lassen Martensen and Johann Ludvig Heiberg. He wrote on a broad range of topics from aesthetics to psychology and employed a variety of literary styles from the novel (e.g. Repetition) to more traditional academic treatises (e.g., The Concept of Anxiety). His mature interest was in delineating the relation between Christianity and philosophy with an emphasis on precisely what was involved both cognitively and practically in being Christian. Kierkegaard is thought by many to have coined the expression “leap of faith.” In fact, this expression comes from Lessing and is used by Kierkegaard only ironically.
Key works The two works most central to Kierkegaard’s thought are Philosophical Crumbs (Kierkegaard & Mooney 2009) and the Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Crumbs (Kierkegaard 2009), though his most famous work is undoubtedly Fear and Trembling (Kierkegaard 2006). Philosophical Crumbs introduces the distinction between what Kierkegaard’s pseudonym Johannes Climacus presents as the traditional philosophical account of the relation of the individual to the truth and the account of this relation given by Christianity. The Postscript looks in detail about what it means to become a Christian. Approximately half of Kierkegaard’s works, including those just mentioned, were published under pseudonyms. Among the works published under Kierkegaard’s own name, the most important are arguably Works of Love (Kierkegaard 1998), and Training in Christianity (Kierkegaard 2004).
Introductions Introductory articles: Michelle Kosch, "Kierkegaard" (Kosch forthcoming) and Piety, "Kierkegaard on Rationality" (Piety 1993). Book length introductory works: C. Stephen Evans’s Kierkegaard: An Introduction (Evans 2009); Alastair Hannay’s Kierkegaard (Hannay 1982); Gregor Malantschuk’s The Controversial Kierkegaard (Malantschuk 1980), and David F. Swenson’s Something About Kierkegaard (Swenson 1945).
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  1. George Adams (2004). Locating the Self In Kierkegaard and Zen. Faith and Philosophy 21 (3):370-380.
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  2. Noel S. Adams (2011). Søren Kierkegaard and Carl Ullmann: Two Allies in the War Against Speculative Philosophy. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 18 (5):875-898.
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  3. Noel S. Adams (2002). Hannay, Alastair. Kierkegaard: A Biography. Review of Metaphysics 56 (2):423-424.
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  4. Robert Merrihew Adams (1990). The Knight of Faith. Faith and Philosophy 7 (4):383-395.
    The essay is about the “Preliminary Expectoration” of Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling. It argues that “the absurd” there refers primarily to the practical paradox that in faith (so it is claimed) one must simultaneously renounce and gladly accept a loved object. In other words it is about a problem of detachment as a feature of religious life. The paper goes on to interpret, and discuss critically, the views expressed in the book about both renunciation (infinite resignation) and the nature of (...)
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  5. Robert Merrihew Adams (1982). Kierkegaard's Arguments Against Objective Reasoning in Religion. In Steven M. Cahn & David Shatz (eds.), Contemporary Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press. 228-243.
    Versions of this paper have been read to philosophical colloquia at Occidental College and California State University, Fullerton. I am indebted to participants in those discussions, to students in many of my classes, and particularly to Marilyn McCord Adams, Van Harvey, Thomas Kselman, William Laserow, and James Muyskens, for helpful comment on the ideas which are contained in this paper (or which would have been, had it not been for their criticisms).
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  6. Theodor W. Adorno (1989). Kierkegaard: Construction of the Aesthetic. University of Minnesota Press.
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  7. David W. Aiken (1996). Kierkegaard's “Three Stages”. Faith and Philosophy 13 (3):352-367.
    The purpose of this paper is to explore an hypothesis rather than draw any unassailable conclusions. I argue that there is a fundamental tension between the sub-Christian account of the “Three Stages” presented in the earlier pseudonymous writings and the explicitly Christian account presented in the Anti-Climacean and later acknowledged writings. The earlier version is that of a progress from spiritless “immediacy” toward more complete integrations of the self, culminating in authentic religious faith; while the later is that of a (...)
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  8. Şener Aktürk (2006). Living at and Beyond the Grenzenpunkte. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 9:51-61.
    This paper compares and contrasts Nietzsche's conceptualization of the "artistic Socrates" with Kierkegaard's vision of the "knight of faith". The paper argues that Nietzsche and Kierkegaard attempted to transcend the rational-ethical sphere of human action in favor of a more spontaneous, yet deeper understanding of the universe. Nietzsche believes that the thread of causality and the principle of sufficient reason, embodied as they are in the personality of Socrates, are not capable of explaining our existence in its entirety. Hence he (...)
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  9. Melodie C. L. Alapack & Richard J. Alapack (1984). The Hinge of the Door To Authentic Adulthood: A Kierkegaardian Inspired Synthesis of the Meaning of Leaving Home. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 15 (1):45-69.
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  10. E. L. Allen (1935). Kierkegaard: His Life and Thought. London, S. Nott, Ltd..
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  11. Rudolf Allers (1943). A Short Life of Kierkegaard. New Scholasticism 17 (4):393-393.
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  12. Rudolf Allers (1942). Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript. New Scholasticism 16 (3):306-310.
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  13. Jørn Erslev Andersen (2004). Begrebet Inderlighed I Kierkegaards Forfatterskab: Den Etiske Betydning Af Gudsforholdet Og Det Mellemmenneskelige Forhold Hos Søren Kierkegaard. Produktion Underskoven.
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  14. Albert Anderson, Niels Thulstrup & Marie Mikulová Thulstrup (eds.) (1982). Kierkegaard's Teachers. C.A. Reitzels Forlag.
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  15. Thomas C. Anderson (1994). The Extent of Kierkegaard's Skepticism. Man and World 27 (3):271-289.
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  16. Thomas C. Anderson (1989). To Be One Thing: Personal Unity in Kierkegaard's Thought. By George Connell. The Modern Schoolman 67 (1):86-87.
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  17. Thomas C. Anderson (1986). Kierkegaard's "Fragments" and "Postscript"; The Religious Philosophy of Johannes Climacus. By C. Stephen Evans. Modern Schoolman 63 (4):292-295.
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  18. Thomas C. Anderson (1986). Kierkegaard's "Fragments" and "Postscript"; The Religious Philosophy of Johannes Climacus. By C. Stephen Evans. The Modern Schoolman 63 (4):292-295.
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  19. George E. Arbaugh (1967). Kierkegaard's Authorship. Rock Island, Ill.,Augustana College Library.
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  20. George E. Arbaugh, Niels Thulstrup & Marie Mikulová Thulstrup (eds.) (1980). Kierkegaard and Human Values. Reitzels.
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  21. A. Freire Ashbaugh, Niels Thulstrup & Marie Mikulová Thulstrup (eds.) (1981). Kierkegaard and Great Traditions. Reitzel.
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  22. Alison Assiter & Margherita Tonon (eds.) (2012). Kierkegaard and the Political. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
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  23. Antony Aumann (2013). Kierkegaard, Paraphrase, and the Unity of Form and Content. Philosophy Today 57 (4):376-387.
    On one standard view, paraphrasing Kierkegaard requires no special literary talent. It demands no particular flair for the poetic. However, Kierkegaard himself rejects this view. He says we cannot paraphrase in a straightforward fashion some of the ideas he expresses in a literary format. To use the words of Johannes Climacus, these ideas defy direct communication. In this paper, I piece together and defend the justification Kierkegaard offers for this position. I trace its origins to concerns raised by Lessing and (...)
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  24. Antony Aumann (2013). Self-Love and Neighbor-Love in Kierkegaard's Ethics. Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook 2013 (1):197–216.
    Kierkegaard faces an apparent dilemma. On the one hand, he concurs with the biblical injunction: we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. He takes this to imply that self-love and neighbor-love should be roughly symmetrical, similar in kind as well as degree. On the other hand, he recommends relating to others and to ourselves in disparate ways. We should be lenient, charitable, and forgiving when interacting with neighbors; the opposite when dealing with ourselves. The goal of my paper is (...)
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  25. Antony Aumann (2011). The ‘Death of the Author’ in Hegel and Kierkegaard: On Berthold’s 'The Ethics of Authorship'. Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 32 (2):435-447.
    In The Ethics of Authorship, Daniel Berthold depicts G. W. F. Hegel and Søren Kierkegaard as endorsing two postmodern principles. The first is an ethical ideal. Authors should abdicate their traditional privileged position as arbiters of their texts’ meaning. They should allow readers to determine this meaning for themselves. Only by doing so will they help readers attain genuine selfhood. The second principle is a claim about language. To wit, language cannot express an author’s thoughts. I argue that if the (...)
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  26. Antony Aumann (2010). Kierkegaard on Indirect Communication, the Crowd, and a Monstrous Illusion. In Robert L. Perkins (ed.), International Kierkegaard Commentary: Point of View. Mercer University Press.
    Following the pattern set by the early German Romantics, Kierkegaard conveys many of his insights through literature rather than academic prose. What makes him a valuable member of this tradition is the theory he develops to support it, his so-called “theory of indirect communication.” The most exciting aspect of this theory concerns the alleged importance of indirect communication: Kierkegaard claims that there are some projects only it can accomplish. This paper provides a critical account of two arguments Kierkegaard offers in (...)
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  27. Antony Aumann (2009). Kierkegaard's Case for the Irrelevance of Philosophy. Continental Philosophy Review 42 (2):221-248.
    This paper provides an account of Kierkegaard’s central criticism of the Danish Hegelians. Contrary to recent scholarship, it is argued that this criticism has a substantive theoretical basis and is not merely personal or ad hominem in nature. In particular, Kierkegaard is seen as criticizing the Hegelians for endorsing an unacceptable form of intellectual elitism, one that gives them pride of place in the realm of religion by dint of their philosophical knowledge. A problem arises, however, because this criticism threatens (...)
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  28. Antony Aumann (2008). Kierkegaard on the Need for Indirect Communication. Dissertation, Indiana University
    This dissertation concerns Kierkegaard’s theory of indirect communication. A central aspect of this theory is what I call the “indispensability thesis”: there are some projects only indirect communication can accomplish. The purpose of the dissertation is to disclose and assess the rationale behind the indispensability thesis. -/- A pair of questions guides the project. First, to what does ‘indirect communication’ refer? Two acceptable responses exist: (1) Kierkegaard’s version of Socrates’ midwifery method and (2) Kierkegaard’s use of artful literary devices. Second, (...)
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  29. Antony Aumann (2006). Sartre's View of Kierkegaard as Transhistorical Man. Journal of Philosophical Research 31:361-372.
    This paper illuminates the central arguments in Sartre's UNESCO address, 'The Singular Universal." The address begins by asking whether objective facts tell us everything there is to know about Kierkegaard. Sartre's answer is negative. The question then arises as to whether we can lay hold of Kierkegaard's "irreducible subjectivity" by seeing him as alive for us today, i.e., as transhistorical. Sartre's answer here is affirmative. However, a close inspection of this answer exposes a deeper level to the address. The struggle (...)
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  30. R. J. B. (1969). Essays on Kierkegaard. Review of Metaphysics 23 (2):364-364.
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  31. H. E. Baber & John Donnelly (1986). Thinking Clearly About Death. Philosophia 16 (1):79-93.
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  32. Stephen Backhouse (2011). Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism. OUP Oxford.
    'Christian nationalism' refers to the set of ideas in which belief in the development and superiority of one's national group is combined with, or underwritten by, Christian theology and practice. A critique of Christian nationalism is implicit throughout the thought of Søren Kierkegaard, an analysis inseparable from his wider aim of reintroducing Christianity into Christendom. -/- Stephen Backhouse examines the nationalist theologies of Kierkegaard's contemporaries H.L. Martensen and N.F.S. Grundtvig, to show how Kierkegaard's thought developed in response to the writings (...)
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  33. Johannes Balthasar (1986). Despair as a Basic Phenomenon of Human Existence. Kierkegaard's Analysis of Existing Subjectivity. Philosophy and History 19 (2):112-113.
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  34. D. Barber (2006). Book Review: Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love: Divine Commands and Moral Obligations. [REVIEW] Studies in Christian Ethics 19 (2):244-247.
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  35. Lee C. Barrett (2009). Kierkegaard and the Bible. Ashgate Pub. Ltd..
    Exploring Kierkegaard's complex use of the Bible, the essays in this volume use source-critical research and tools ranging from literary criticism to theology ...
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  36. Stanley Bates (2004). Stephen Mulhall, Inheritance and Originality: Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Kierkegaard:Inheritance and Originality: Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Kierkegaard. Ethics 114 (3):623-625.
  37. Christine Battersby (1999). Feminist Interpretations of Soren Kierkegaard (Review). Hypatia 14 (3):172-176.
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  38. Christine Battersby (1999). Book Review: C�Line L�on and Sylvia Walsh. Feminist Interpretations of s�Ren Kierkegaard. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997. [REVIEW] Hypatia 14 (3):172-176.
  39. Matthias Bauer & Markus Pohlmeyer (eds.) (2012). Existenz Und Reflexion: Aktuelle Aspekte der Kierkegaard-Rezeption. Igel.
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  40. Greg Beabout (1988). Kierkegaard on the Self and Despair. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 62:106-115.
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  41. Gregory Beabout (1991). Existential Despair in Kierkegaard. Philosophy and Theology 6 (2):167-174.
    This paper is a study of Kierkegaard’s concept of despair. The Danish etymology of fortvivleslse is examined in order to argue that, for Kierkegaard, despair is not simply a feeling, but is more fundamentally a willed misrelation in the self.
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  42. Gregory R. Beabout (2013). Kierkegaard Amidst the Catholic Tradition. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 87 (3):521-540.
    To mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Søren Kierkegaard, I review in this essay the relationship between Kierkegaard and the Catholic tradition. First, I look back to consider both Kierkegaard’s encounter with Catholicism and the influence of his work upon Catholics. Second, I look around to consider some of the recent work on Kierkegaard and Catholicism, especially Jack Mulder’s recent book, Kierkegaard and the Catholic Tradition, and the many articles that examine Kierkegaard’s relation to Catholicism in the multi-volume (...)
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  43. Anthony F. Beavers, Ethical Differentiation in Levinas, Kierkegaard and Kant.
    The goal of this paper is to locate the precise moment in which reason becomes endowed with an ought. In stating the goal in this way, something has already been said about Kant and his project of grounding the metaphysics of morals. But in speaking of a moment (or an instant or an event or an occasion) in which reason becomes endowed with an ought, that is, a moment in which pure reason becomes practical, we have already headed off in (...)
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  44. Devon R. Beidler (1991). Kierkegaard's “Johannes Climacus” on Logical Systems and Existential Systems. Idealistic Studies 21 (2/3):170-183.
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  45. Lars Bejerholm & Marie Mikulová Thulstrup (eds.) (1980). Concepts and Alternatives in Kierkegaard. C. A. Reitzels Boghandel.
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  46. Lars Bejerholm, Niels Thulstrup & Marie Mikulová Thulstrup (eds.) (1981). The Legacy and Interpretation of Kierkegaard. Reitzel.
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  47. Charles K. Bellinger (2001). The Genealogy of Violence: Reflections on Creation, Freedom, and Evil. Oxford University Press.
    Various historians, philosophers, and social scientists have attempted to provide convincing explanations of the roots of violence, with mixed and confusing results. This book brings Kierkegaard's voice into this conversation in a powerful way, arguing that the Christian intellectual tradition offers the key philosophical tools needed for comprehending human pathology.
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  48. Roi Benbassat (2012). Kierkegaard's Relation to Kantian Ethics Reconsidered. Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook 2012 (1).
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  49. Raymond Benoit (1991). Fault-Lines in Kierkegaard and Hawthorne. Thought 66 (2):196-205.
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  50. Matthew A. Benton (2006). Review of Clare Carlisle, "Kierkegaard's Philosophy of Becoming: Movements and Positions" (Albany NY: State University of New York Press, 2005). Pp. Xi+173. $55.00 (Hbk). ISBN 0 7914 6547 0. [REVIEW] Religious Studies 42 (4):488-492.
    Review of Clare Carlisle's book covering Kierkegaard's three 1843 pseudonymous texts: "Either/Or," "Repetition," and "Fear and Trembling.".
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