Shelves: ascension Before formally beginning my thoroughly subjective! It is merely inspired by the wealth of wisdom this work of art had to offer. Just like I think it would be pointless to attempt to summarise Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments. The rationale for this is that it was the joint enterprise of Mssrs.

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The style of Climacus varies from each of the three productions, but they are singular as to their dialectical mission. Kierkegaard took this name from a Greek monk c. This book, incidentally, was the first book to be printed in the New World, translated into Spanish Mexico, He says that no one should attempt the contemplative life without first warring against and subduing the passions.

The ladder is thus a series of thirty steps which ultimately lead to impassability and imperturbability, not entirely unlike the ataraxia of the Epicureans, except that Epicureans seek to escape the troubles of the world for quiet contemplative pleasure while Climacus strove for the heavenly vision.

As The Imitation of Christ is one of the most popular devotional works outside of the Bible in the West, the Ladder has long achieved the same importance in the East.

It is read every Lent in Orthodox monasteries, and is appointed to be read aloud in church or in the refectory. For Kierkegaard, the pseudonym Johannes Climacus represents the subjective approach to knowledge, though this Climacus is not a believer.

The ladder is not then the ascent to God but is meant to call to mind an ascending series of logical plateaus, where the logician, represented particularly by Descartes and Hegel, proceeds from one premise to the next.

Johannes rejects this method in spiritual matters, thinking it ridiculous to approach the Absolute in any way except through faith. He is concerned with subjective knowledge and with the leap for more on the leap see a Primer on Kierkegaardian Motifs. Objective knowledge, which is the avowed goal of rational philosophers, is impossible to appropriate by subjective creatures. Moreover, Kierkegaard was concerned with knowledge that would encourage the soul to turn to God.

But Johannes claims not to be a Christian, since he has not yet reached that knowledge of God. The rigorous ascent to God toward impassibility has been replaced by the very passionate and subjective approach to truth whereby the believer, by virtue of the absurd, finds himself before Christ. The Concluding Unscientific Postscript is a huge and unwieldy book.

In the recent Princeton edition it runs to pages. It is quite wordy throughout and unorthodox in its overall presentation. This is nothing new to readers of Kierkegaard, who have come to expect his prolix and remarkable style, which began with his dissertation, The Concept of Irony.

Hong points out, there is irony in calling this work a postscript to another work, when this is five times the size of the former. The term "unscientific" requires an explanation.

Science refers to learning in general. Concerning existence itself, there can be no teacher except God. As a consequence, the work is not systematic. I refer to H. Mimical: Mime is the dramatic art of expressively imitating emotions and thoughts by actions and gestures, usually without words. Here "mimical" presumably can be interpreted as "poetically artistically elucidated" in such a way that the tone and form are appropriate to the content. It may also refer to a gathering of all the earlier "mimed" pseudonymous works as background material for this "concluding" work.

Dialectical: The dialectical marks the thinker. Climacus is a poetic philosopher. In the Postscript Kierkegaard underscores the necessity of approaching truth subjectively. He does not deny objective truth, but asserts that objective truth can only be known and appropriated subjectively. Like the Philosophical Fragments, he lists himself as editor, again, showing the importance of the work.

Philosophers like Kant, Hume and Hegel struggled with epistemological issues concerning the acquisition of knowledge based on reason versus empirical data. Sometimes philosophical methodology was applied to Christian theology dogmatics.

Kierkegaard maintained that knowledge through traditional means cannot begin to span the chasm of doubt between the individual person and God. One cannot amass proofs so that the object of faith becomes probable, as if the gap were nearly closed.

No, the chasm is broad. The individual who approaches God must swim in water "70, fathoms" deep. Objective knowledge applies to the sciences. Subjective knowledge applies to the individual who approaches God. It is the truth he must live for, that he has made his own. But the subjective is not therefore arbitrary. From the beginning of the work, the subjective issue is stated. The system presupposes faith as given a system that has no presuppositions! Next, it presupposes that faith should be interested in understanding itself in a way different from remaining in the passion of faith, which is a presupposition a presupposition for a system that has no presupposition!

The objective issue, then, would be about the truth of Christianity. Now, if Christianity requires this infinite interest in the individual subject The subjective side is posited to exclude all uncommitted interest—whether of the physical scientist or of the anthropologist. Anyone who as a believer posits inspiration must consistently regard every critical deliberation—whether as for or against—as something dubious, a kind of temptation.

And anyone who, without having faith, ventures out into critical deliberations cannot possibly want to have inspiration result from them. To whom, then, is it all really of interest? Faith does not result from straightforward scholarly deliberation, nor does it come directly; on the contrary, in this objectivity one loses that infinite, personal, impassioned interestedness, which is the condition of faith, the ubique et nusquam [everywhere and nowhere] in which faith can come into existence p.

The Postscript consists of a bewildering complex of chapters and sections, divided quite unequally into two parts. Part Two is about pages long.

Thus, Kierkegaard first seeks to establish the nature of traditional inquiry, before offering his own view. Thus, objectively understood, truth can signify: 1 historical truth, 2 philosophical truth. Viewed as historical truth, the truth must be established by a critical consideration of the various reports etc. In the case of philosophical truth, the inquiry turns on the relation of the doctrine, historically given and verified, to the eternal truth p.

Kierkegaard goes on to address the three main historical bases for Christian knowledge: the Bible, the church and church history. He wonders how a knowledge of truth can be founded on any combination of these. The objective view, however, continues from generation to generation precisely because the individuals the observers become more and more objective, less and less infinitely, passionately interested The more objective the observer becomes, the less he builds an eternal happiness, that is, his eternal happiness, on his relation to the observation, because an eternal happiness is a question only for the impassioned, infinitely interested subjectivity If Christianity is essentially something objective, it behooves the observer to be objective.

But if Christianity is essentially subjectivity, it is a mistake if the observer is objective p. To Kierkegaard, it was arrogant to develop a philosophy from a detached standpoint, as if a philosopher stood outside of the system that he created.

Kierkegaard was not concerned with a system, but with man in the world, especially as an individual before God. He emphasized subjective truth over objective truth, or "the truth that is true for me". By this, he did not deny objective, propositional truth, but rather, he asserted that truth, especially the claims of religion, must be appropriated subjectively to have any effect on, or value for, the thinker. That is to say, the ability to verify the claims of religion are only good to the philosopher if he can personally appropriate those claims for himself.

Who is supposed to write or finish such a system? He was a noted German esthetician, dramatist and critic. His drama abandoned neo-classical forms and assumed more personal and ideal themes. He also alluded to the concept of the leap, which held great interest for Kierkegaard.

The subjective existing thinker is aware of the dialectic of communication. Whereas objective thinking is indifferent to the thinking subject and his existence, the subjective thinker as existing is essentially interested in his own thinking, is existing in it. Therefore, his thinking has another kind of reflection, specifically, that of inwardness, of possession, whereby it belongs to the subject and to no one else In his existence-relation to the truth, the existing subjective thinker is just as negative as positive, has just as much of the comic as he essentially has of pathos, and is continually in a process of becoming, that is, striving In the domain of thinking, the positive can be classed in the following categories: sensate certainty, historical knowledge, speculative result.

But this positive is precisely the untrue. Sensate certainty is a delusion see Greek skepticism That is, all of this positive fails to express the state of the knowing subject in existence Lessing has said that contingent historical truths can never become a demonstration of eternal truths of reason, also that the transition whereby one will build an eternal truth on historical reports is a leap Lessing has said If God held all truth enclosed in his right hand, and in his left hand the one and only ever-striving drive for truth, even with the corollary of erring forever and ever, and if he were to say to me: Choose!

Pure truth is indeed only for you alone! If something can only be speculated about, we cannot approach it objectively with assurance of understanding. If something is historical, we again cannot approach it objectively with assurance of understanding, since we were not there. Lastly, if we were there, our perceptions of the sensate could be misled. This is why Kierkegaard could rationalize in his Philosophical Fragments that a contemporary follower of Christ had no advantage over a later believer "a follower at second hand".

Even if God handed someone the truth, he would not thereby come into relation with it. It would exist for him as an object. The striving after something engages the individual to come into relation with it—even though he should fail to acquire a full understanding.

In Chapter One, entitled "Becoming Subjective", Kierkegaard addresses the paradoxical, among other things. His view is that paradox is at the heart of the Christian religion. The paradox gives offense and cannot be silenced by the mere amassing of proofs.

The matter becomes much more difficult when one asks about the religious in the strictest sense, in which the explanation cannot consist in immanently procuring the infinitizing but in becoming aware of the paradox and holding on to the paradox at every moment, and most of all fearing in particular an explanation that would remove the paradox, because the paradox is not a transient form of the relation between the religious in the strictest sense and the existing person but is essentially conditioned by his being an existing person, so that the explanation that removes the paradox also fantastically transmogrifies the existing person into a fantastical something that belongs neither to time nor to eternity, but such a something is not a human being p.

Kierkegaard was not the first person to consider the paradoxical. The Latin phrase attributed to Tertullian ? Anselm said Credo ut intelligam, "I believe so that I might understand".


Concluding Unscientific Postscript

Contrasts in Concluding Unscientific Postscript[ edit ] Objectivity Subjectivity Objective truth is that which relates to propositions, that which has no relation to the existence of the knower. History, science, and speculative philosophy all deal with objective knowledge. According to Climacus, all objective knowledge is subject to doubt. Focuses on what is asserted. Subjective truth is essential or ethico-religious truth.


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