Habermas and Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard’s views of knowledge and moral psychology provide insights into certain issues that Habermas treats at length: multiculturalism and the Historikerstreit. Kierkegaard’s concept of subjective truth sustains the universality necessary to oppose racism,sexism, nationalism, fundamentalism, and the economic imperialism characteristic of some postnational states. Habermas expands Kierkegaard’s ethical concept of “choosing oneself” to politics and historiography in the debate over the Holocaust. To be a self, onemust accept responsibility for one’s “good and evil.” Likewise a nation creates its national identity through the choice and enforcement of public policies, especially educational content, which subtly and pervasively create a sense of the nation. Thus a nation must acknowledge its wrongs and crimes. This robust choice enables persons to loyally witness against their nation’s history, free themselves from an inherited guilt-consciousness, and develop a freer and more cohesive politics
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DOI 10.5840/ipq200444459
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