Philosophy Today 57 (4):376-387 (2013)

Antony Aumann
Northern Michigan University
On one standard view, paraphrasing Kierkegaard requires no special literary talent. It demands no particular flair for the poetic. However, Kierkegaard himself rejects this view. He says we cannot paraphrase in a straightforward fashion some of the ideas he expresses in a literary format. To use the words of Johannes Climacus, these ideas defy direct communication. In this paper, I piece together and defend the justification Kierkegaard offers for this position. I trace its origins to concerns raised by Lessing and Mendelssohn about the relationship between form and content in works of art. I maintain that Kierkegaard follows early German Romantic thinkers in applying these aesthetic concerns to philosophical writing. By way of conclusion, I discuss the implications of Kierkegaard’s position for contemporary scholarship.
Keywords Kierkegaard  Style  Literary Value  Indirect Communication  Philosophy of Literature
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2013
DOI 10.5840/philtoday201357432
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Logic and Conversation.H. Paul Grice - 1975 - In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. pp. 47.
Style and Personality in the Literary Work.Jenefer M. Robinson - 1985 - Philosophical Review 94 (2):227-247.
Kierkegaard on Faith.Brand Blanshard - 1968 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 49 (1):5.
Kierkegaard and Indirect Communication.Poul Lübcke - 1990 - History of European Ideas 12 (1):31-40.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Kierkegaard on Indirect Communication, the Crowd, and a Monstrous Illusion.Antony Aumann - 2010 - In Robert L. Perkins (ed.), International Kierkegaard Commentary: Point of View. Macon, GA, USA: Mercer University Press. pp. 295-324.
Kierkegaard.Patrick L. Gardiner - 1988 - Oxford University Press.
Kierkegaard’s Concept of Despair.Michael Theunissen - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
To Be as No‐One: Kierkegaard and Climacus on the Art of Indirect Communication.Vanessa Rumble - 1995 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 3 (2):307 – 321.
The Literary Kierkegaard.Eric Jozef Ziolkowski - 2011 - Northwestern University Press.
Kierkegaard’s Case for the Irrelevance of Philosophy.Antony Aumann - 2009 - Continental Philosophy Review 42 (2):221-248.


Added to PP index

Total views
705 ( #8,419 of 2,438,798 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
31 ( #24,095 of 2,438,798 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes