Kierkegaard's Phenomenology of Spirit

European Journal of Philosophy 24 (3):629-650 (2014)
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Kierkegaard's preoccupation with a separation between the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ runs through his work and is widely thought to belong to his rejection of Hegel's idealist monism. Focusing on The Concept of Irony and Either/Or, I argue that although Kierkegaard believes in various metaphysical distinctions between inside and outside, he nonetheless understands the task of the philosopher as that of making outside and inside converge in a representation. Drawing on Hegel's philosophy of art, I show that Kierkegaard's project in both of these books is the aesthetic project of revealing the inner essence of something in its outward appearance. Kierkegaard's portrait of Socrates in The Concept of Irony is a phenomenology of the spirit of irony. My interpretation adds a new dimension to our understanding of Kierkegaard's aesthetics and his relation to Hegel; it presents him as a follower of Plato, whom he is usually thought to have dismissed; and it uncovers a deep connection between Kierkegaard's first two books, which are never read in conjunction.



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Ulrika Carlsson
Yale University (PhD)

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References found in this work

Critique of judgment.Immanuel Kant - 1790 - New York: Barnes & Noble. Edited by J. H. Bernard.
Plato: Complete Works.J. M. Cooper (ed.) - 1997 - Hackett.
Critique of Judgment.Immanuel Kant & Werner S. Pluhar - 1790 - Indianapolis, Indiana: Barnes & Noble. Edited by J. H. Bernard. Translated by Werner S. Pluhar.
The Sickness Unto Death.Søen Kierkegaard & Walter Lowrie - 1946 - Princeton University Press.
Fear and trembling.Søren Kierkegaard - 1939 - Garden City, N.Y.,: Doubleday. Edited by Søren Kierkegaard.

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