The essays in this volume of International Kierkegaard Commentary examine these writings not just as a public "report to history" but also as a revelation of Kierkegaard's deepest understanding of himself as an author.
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. (shrink)
Kierkegaard recognized that the changes ushered in by the revolutions of 1848 would profoundly affect human existence in both its political and personal dimensions. At the political level he was concerned that the new forms of government would not be able to govern any more effectively than the previous forms. Loquacity would be substituted for policy. Then, too, the new forms of government encouraged confusion about the actual locus of power; the appearances and the reality of power did not conform. (...) Also, the actual state represents ?interests?, and as a result, justice is jeopardized. To be sure, compromise will be evident in such an actual state, but is governing possible in and through such conflictual arrangements? What is the relation of the press (media) to the public, and these in turn to politics? (shrink)