International Philosophical Quarterly 44 (4):497-517 (2004)
This paper considers a series of Kierkegaard’s early “upbuilding discourses” in order to argue that Kierkegaard was never Hegelian. These discourses reveal a dialectical play of non-dialectical difference and tension rather than mediated resolution and progress.Thus Kierkegaard’s is not a logical dialectic of mediation but an existential dialectic of difference—of irremediable paradox. The divisions of existential dividedness do not resolve themselves because they cannot resolve at all; existential difference, as distinct from logical contradiction, is non-dialectical. Kierkegaard’s is a “one-way” dialectic that cannot resolve itself, for eternity, its only (in)conceivable resolution, is incommensurable with it. However, because eternity is not temporally before us as final cause but is rather within us and among us, the apparent simplicity of this one-way dialectic gives way, in the actuality of existence, to the desperate complexity of “redoubling repetition,” whereby the self comes to itself only in the halt of the lesson of death
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