The ‘Death of the Author’ in Hegel and Kierkegaard: On Berthold’s 'The Ethics of Authorship'

Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 32 (2):435-447 (2011)
Abstract
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 claim about language holds, the ethical ideal becomes superfluous. In addition, if Berthold has identified Hegel and Kierkegaard’s views regarding the issues in question by reading their works, then either they failed to execute their ethical project or their views about language are false.
Keywords Hegel  Kierkegaard  Death of the Author  Daniel Berthold  postmodernism  indirect communication
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