Kierkegaard's anthropology of the self: Ethico-religious and social dimensions of selfhood

Heythrop Journal 53 (1):37-50 (2012)
Abstract
It is sometimes argued that the concept of the self is the unifying thread that ties together the rich diversity of philosophical and theological themes in Kierkegaard's works.1 In his conception of the self he provides us with a coherent and unified view of human existence. For Kierkegaard the self is not a static entity but a dynamic and unfolding reality, something I must strive to become. One is not a self but becomes a self as an ethico-religious task to be actualized. The purpose of this paper is to outline Kierkegaard's anthropology of the self with particular emphasis on the ethical and religious dimensions of selfhood. I will first elucidate the structure and dynamic character of the self, and then will examine the dialectical development of the self in the ethical and religious stages of existence. Finally I will address the widespread criticism of Kierkegaard's conception of the self as being radically individualistic and asocial
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