Philosophy 16 (63):257 (1941)

It is a wise child who knows his own father; and the climate of thought of a generation may be subtly changed without conscious recognition of the formative minds which have been, if not the parents, at least the godparents of that change. That is to say, they have sponsored the baptism of ideas which would only be safe so long as they renounced the world, the flesh, and the devil; but, as is so often the case, when the offspring grow up they form a pact with those very powers. To make Søren Kierkegaard spiritually responsible for the present war would have as little, and perhaps as much, truth in it as the facile explanations which made Hegel responsible for the last one. But it is part of the demonism of policies of power and ambition to be able to pervert to their own ends religious ideas which in their intention are a protest against those very ambitions; and, by so doing, to win a response from people who, in a dim, unconscious way, are feeling after the ideas themselves, but have neither the powers of self-criticism nor of radical thinking to resist travesties of them which appear to justify their own self-assertion. When Hitler informed Sir Nevile Henderson that he was a man of “ ad infinitum decisions” we may question the extent of his knowledge either of the Latin language or of the existential philosophy; but the phrase awakes an echo of the religious philosophy of circles far removed from National-Socialism. Both Nazi apologists and their Confessional or independent opponents are consciously or unconsciously moved by a way of thinking which puts the decision of the individual, made in the concrete moment, above any objective or universal norm of ethics or of reason by which it can be either justified or criticized.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0031819100002540
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 55,856
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Controversial Kierkegaard.Gregor Malantschuk - 1980 - Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
Kierkegaard and Greek Philosophy.Rick Anthony Furtak - 2013 - In John Lippitt & George Pattison (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Kierkegaard. Oxford University Press. pp. 129-149.
Kierkegaard, Seduction, and Existential Education.Herner Sæverot - 2011 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 30 (6):557-572.
Kierkegaard's Existential Ethics.Warren E. Steinkraus - 1978 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (3):192-192.
Existential Despair in Kierkegaard.Gregory Beabout - 1991 - Philosophy and Theology 6 (2):167-174.
Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling: A Critical Guide.Daniel Conway (ed.) - 2015 - Cambridge University Press.
Philosophy and Religion in the Thought of Kierkegaard.Michael Weston - 1992 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 32:9-29.


Added to PP index

Total views
3 ( #1,278,017 of 2,401,716 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #551,964 of 2,401,716 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes