Kierkegaard on Mastered Irony

After extensively critiquing the stance of pure irony in the second half of The Concept of Irony, Kierkegaard attempts to recover the “truth of irony,” as he puts it, in a brief but suggestive conclusion. A main feature of the “truth of irony” turns out to be that irony, when mastered, is an indispensable component in an ethical way of life. In this paper I attempt to clarify Kierkegaard’s account of mastered irony. I discuss the analogy that Kierkegaard offers between poets who skillfully use mastered irony in their work and persons who gainfully employ irony in their “individual existence.” Then I analyze four metaphors that Kierkegaard uses to clarify the advantages of mastered irony in ethical life. I also argue that, for Kierkegaard, irony is properly mastered through moral commitment
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0019-0365
DOI 10.5840/ipq200444445
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Brad Frazier (2004). Kierkegaard on the Problems of Pure Irony. Journal of Religious Ethics 32 (3):417 - 447.
Paul Muench (2009). Socratic Irony, Plato's Apology, and Kierkegaard's On the Concept of Irony. In Niels Jørgen Cappelørn, Hermann Deuser & K. Brian Söderquist (eds.), Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook. de Gruyter. pp. 71-125.
Markus Kleinert (2008). Kierkegaard's Pedagogue or Practice in Negative Dialectics. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 1:137-143.

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