Philosophical Fragments


  1. ^ Kierkegaard started talking about the condition in Either/Or

    Every human being, no matter how slightly gifted he is, however subordinate his position in life may be, has a natural need to formulate a life-view, a conception of the meaning of life and of its purpose. The person who lives esthetically also does that, and the popular expression heard in all ages and from various stages is this: One must enjoy life. There are, of course, many variations of this, depending on differences in the conceptions of enjoyment, but all are agreed that we are to enjoy life. But the person who says that he wants to enjoy life always posits a condition that either lies outside the individual or is within the individual in such a way that it is not there by virtue of the individual himself. I beg you to keep rather fixed the phrases of this last sentence, for they have been carefully chosen. Either/Or II p. 180ff see also Fear and Trembling p. 98-100 and Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses p. 27, 132-139

  2. ^ Kierkegaard devoted his first book Either/Or to making a decision and choosing either God or the world. He wrote,

    If a man esthetically ponders a host of life tasks, then he … does not readily have one Either/Or but a great multiplicity, because the self-determining aspect of the choice has not been ethically stressed and because, if one does not choose absolutely, one chooses only for the moment and for that reason can choose something else the next moment. What is important in choosing is not so much to choose the right thing as the energy, the earnestness, and the pathos with which one chooses. In the choosing the personality declares itself in its inner infinity and in turn the personality is thereby consolidated. Either/Or II Part II p. 167

    His self is, so to speak, outside him, and it has to be acquired, and repentance is his love for it, because he chooses it absolutely from the hand of God. What I have expressed here is not academic wisdom; it is something every person can express if he wants to, something every person can will if he so wills. This, you see, is why it is so hard for individuals to choose themselves, because the absolute isolation here is identical with the most profound continuity, because as long as one has not chosen oneself there seems to be a possibility of one way or another of becoming something different. So here you have my humble view of what it is to choose and to repent. It is improper to love a young girl as if she were one's mother or one's mother as if she were a young girl; every love has its distinctiveness; love of God has its absolute distinctiveness, and its expression is repentance. (…) The Either/Or I erected between living esthetically and living ethically is not an unqualified dilemma, because it actually is a matter of only one choice. Through this choice, I actually choose between good and evil, but I choose the good, I choose eo ipso the choice between good and evil. The original choice is forever present in every succeeding choice. I as free spirit am born out of the principle of contradiction and am born through choosing myself. Either/Or Part II p. 217-219

  1. ^ Storm says Johannes Climacus (Kierkegaard) is not a Christian but is explaining how one would become a Christian if one was interested in becoming that. See his commentary on Kierkegaard's unpublished book Johannes Climacus 1841-42
  2. ^ Refer to Søren Kierkegaard, Scandinavian studies and notes, Volume 6 No. 7 August 1921 Editor George T Flom University of Illinois Published in Menasha, Wisconsin p. 24
  3. ^ Hollander provides more insight Selections from the writings of Kierkegaard 1923, Hollander, Lee Milton, 1880–1972
  4. ^ Schlegel's book was bits of philosophy cut up into little fragments Friedrich Schlegel's Lucinde and the Fragments, By Friedrich von Schlegelb University of Minnesota Press, 1971 He also wrote The Philosophy of History, this link takes you to Lecture X - On the Christian Point of View in the Philosophy of History
  5. ^ He forgot about Job's lessons. "His soul belonged to the world as its illegitimate possession; it belonged to God as his legitimate possession; it belonged to Kierkegaard as his possession, as a possession that is to be gained."[10] See Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
  6. ^ Dr. Stephen Hicks, Professor of Philosophy at Rockford College created a YouTube video explaining Kierkegaard's view about faith and reason
  7. ^ Kierkegaard explained this further in his book Training in Christianity, which is now translated Practice in Christianity.
  8. ^ "Tro is translated here and in the following three pages as belief or "faith"--- Josiah Thompson says the following about Kierkegaard's use of the word Tro,

    In Fragments Climacus makes clear that he means to give the Danish term for belief, Tro, a double sense. "In the most eminent sense" it will refer to the Christian's faith, his capacity to believe against reason and the awful paradox of God's entry into time through Christ. As the mental act that somehow holds together oppositions of incalculable severity, Tro, in this sense is "the category of despair." But there is another "direct and ordinary sense" of Tro that refers not to the relationship of mind to the Christian paradox, but to "the relationship of the mind to the historical." In this second sense of belief, Tro is "the category of doubt." In both senses Tro is founded on opposition, ultimately on the opposition which is consciousness itself. Also in both senses, Tro is seen as a mental act that respects yet defeats the opposition which upon which it is founded. "Defeat" may be too strong a word, for uncertainty is never really defeated by Tro, but only ignored, uncoupled, put out of circuit. Thus Climacus argues that "in the certainty of belief there is always a negated uncertainty, in every way corresponding to the becoming of existence. Belief believes what it does not see; it sees that the star is there, but what it believes is that the star has come into existence." [23] The essential claim, then, is that the existence of anything cannot be known, but must be believed. Kierkegaard, by Josiah Thompson, Alfred A. Knopf, 1973, p. 173 (See p. 170-180))

    see also Martin Buber I and Thou for his explanation of the same concept
  9. ^ Kierkegaard repeats the same message in The Concept of Anxiety: When a man of rigid orthodoxy applies all his diligence and learning to prove that every word in the New Testament derives from the respective apostle, inwardness will gradually disappear, and he finally comes to understand something quite different from what he wished to understand. When a freethinker applies all his acumen to prove the New Testament was not written until the 2nd century, it is precisely inwardness he is afraid of, and therefore he must have the New Testament placed in the same class with other books. p. 142-143
  10. ^ He says thinking about life or death in an academic way is contemplation but contemplation should lead to a conclusion at some point.

    Indeed, from what does that confusion of thoughtlessness come but from this, that the individual's thought ventures, observing, out into life, wants to survey the whole of existence, that play of forces that only God in heaven can view calmly, because in his providence he governs it with wise and omniscient purpose, but which weakens a human being's mind and makes him mentally deranged, causes him misplaced care, and strengthens with regrettable consolation. Misplaced care, namely in mood, because he worries about so much; regrettable consolation, namely in slack lethargy, when his contemplation has so many entrances and exits that it eventually wanders. And when death comes it still deceives the contemplator, because all his contemplation did not come a single step closer to the explanation but only deceived him out of life. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions p. 93

  11. ^ He repeated the same thing another way in Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments: "In the animal world, the particular animal is related directly as specimen to species, participates as a matter of course in the development of the species, if one wants to talk about such a thing. When a breed of sheep is improved, improved sheep are born because the specimen merely expresses the species. But surely it is different when an individual, who is qualified as spirit, relates himself to a generation. Or is it assumed that Christian parents give birth to Christian children as a matter of course? At least Christianity does not assume it; on the contrary, it assumes that sinful children are born of Christian parents just as in paganism. Or will anyone assume that by being born of Christian parents one has come a single step closer to Christianity than the person born of pagan parents if, please note, he also is brought up in Christianity? And yet it is of this confusion that modern speculative thought is, if not directly the cause, nevertheless often enough the occasion so that the individual is regarded as related to the development of the human spirit as a matter of course (just as the animal specimen is related to the species), as if development of spirit were something one generation can dispose of by a will in favor of another, as if the generation and not individuals were qualified as spirit, which is both a self-contradiction and an ethical abomination. Development of spirit is self-activity; the spiritually developed individual takes his spiritual development along with him in death. If a succeeding individual is to attain it, it must occur through self-activity; therefore he must skip nothing. Now, of course it is easier and simpler and cheaper to bellow about being born in the speculative 19th century." p. 345
  12. ^ Fragments attempted to show that contemporaneity does not help at all, because there is in all eternity no direct transition which also would indeed have been an unbounded injustice toward all those who come later, an injustice and a distinction that would be much worse than that between Jew and Greek, circumcised and uncircumcised, which Christianity has canceled. Lessing has himself consolidated this issue in the following words, which he has in boldface: contingent truths of history can never become the demonstrations of necessary truths of reason. ... Everything that becomes historical is contingent, inasmuch as precisely by coming into existence, by becoming historical, it has its element of contingency, inasmuch as contingency is precisely the one factor in all coming into existence. –and therein lies again the incommensurability between a historical truth and an eternal decision. … It is a leap, and this is the word that Lessing has employed, within the accidental limitation that is characterized by an illusory distinction between contemporaneity and non-contemporaneity. His words read as follows: "That, that is the ugly broad ditch that I cannot cross, however often and however earnestly I have tried to make the leap." … to have been very close to making the leap is nothing whatever, precisely because the leap is the category of decision. Concluding Unscientific Postscript p. 97-98 See Stages on Life’s Way, Hong p. 443-445
  13. ^ And he explains it again in Preparation for a Christian Life Preparation for a Christian Life (Practice in Christianity)

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