Kierkegaard, the Self, Authenticity and the Teleological Suspension of the Ethical

Critical Horizons 11 (1):75-97 (2010)
Abstract
In Fear and Trembling Kierkegaard outlines and defends a faith-based religious ethic, belief in which justifies transgressing the universal ethical norms of the community. In contrast to certain commentators who maintain that Kierkegaard’s argument is about the individual’s relation to God, I understand that this aspect of Kierkegaard’s argument is only important because he maintains that faith in God is a necessary aspect of authentic being. Thus, I argue that Kierkegaard’s argument is about the role faith plays in the formation and transformation of individual identity. To defend my argument, I pay particular attention to: 1) why he maintains that authenticity is found in the faith-based religious ethic; 2) what transformative impact the individual's adoption of the faith-based religious ethic can have on his/her existence; and 3) what the structural relation is between the authentic faith-based religious ethic and the universal ethic of the community. I conclude by showing that Kierkegaard’s failure to differentiate between the contents of different faith-based actions leads his faith-based religious ethic to fall into an ethical antinomy
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