Philosophical Fragments

Right Action and Eternal Truth

“What good would it do me if truth stood before me, cold and naked, not caring if I recognized it or not?”

Soren Kierkegaard – “father of existentialism,” critic of both Hegelian idealism and its entire philosophical tradition – viewed his contemporaries as passionless individuals, afraid of falling from the dialectical security of metaphysical theories of existence, clinging to abstract certainty without regard for the isolating character of truths located outside the realm of existence. Surrendering to the dangers of passionate commitment and assertive individuality, philosophy had embraced the comforts of understanding and reflection; and, in its passivity, rendered itself incapable of achieving “anything that could be called greatness.” In Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Crumbs, Kierkegaard offers a decisive route through which truth may be rescued from its objectively valid yet existentially irrelevant status, whereby truth is not merely discovered but also integrated into the fabric of life for an existing individual.

It is the temporal quality of human existence that leads Kierkegaard to reject systemic theories of existence. “System and finality correspond to one another, but existence is...

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