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  • louise
    The Concept of Irony with continual reference to Socrates Part One The Position of Socrates viewed as Irony Introduction If there is anything that must be
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 29, 2005
      The Concept of Irony
      with continual reference to Socrates

      Part One
      The Position of Socrates viewed as Irony


      If there is anything that must be praised in modern philosophical
      endeavour in its magnificent manifestation, it certainly is the
      power of genius with which it seizes and holds on to the
      phenomenon. Now if it is fitting for the phenomenon, which as such
      is always *foeminini generis* [of the feminine gender], to surrender
      to the stronger on account of its feminine nature, then in all
      fairness one can also demand of the philosophical knight a
      deferential propriety and a profound enthusisam, in place of which
      one sometimes hears too much the jingling of spurs and the voice of
      the master. The observer ought to be an amorist; he must not be
      indifferent to any feature, any factor. But on the other hand he
      ought to have a sense of his own predominance - but should use it
      only to help the phenomenon obtain its full disclosure. Therefore,
      even if the observer does bring the concept along with him, it is
      still of great importance that the phenomenon remain inviolate and
      that the concept be seen as coming into existence [*tilblivende*]
      through the phenomenon.
      Before I proceed to an exposition of the concept of irony, it is
      necessary to make sure that I have a reliable and authentic view of
      Socrates' historical-actual, phenomenological existence with respect
      to the question of its possible relation to the transformed view
      that was his fate through enthusiastic or envious contemporaries.
      This becomes inescapably necessary, because the concept of irony
      makes its entry into the world through Socrates. Concepts, just
      like individuals, have their history, and are no more able than they
      to resist the dominion of time, but in and through it all they
      nevertheless harbor a kind of homesickness for the place of their
      birth. Indeed, philosophy can now on one side no more disregard the
      recent history of this concept than it can stop with its earliest
      history, no matter how copious and interesting. Philosophy
      continually demands something more, demands the eternal, the true,
      compared with which even the most sterling existence is in itself
      just a fortunate moment. On the whole, the relation of philosophy
      to history is like that of a father confessor to a penitent and
      therefore like him ought to have a sensitive, perceptive ear for the
      secrets of the penitent but, having examined the whole sequence of
      confessed sins, is then also able to make this manifest to the
      penitent as something else. Just as the individual making a
      confession is certainly able not only to reel off the incidents of
      his life chronologically but also to relate them entertainingly but
      still does not comprehend them himself, so history certainly is also
      able to declare the eventful life of the human race with pathos and
      in a loud voice but must leave it to the senior* (philosophy) to
      explain it and is then able to relish the delightful surprise that
      at first is almost unwilling to acknowledge the copy provided by
      philosophy but gradually, to the degree that it familiarizes itself
      with this philosophical view, eventually regards this as the actual
      truth and the other as apparent truth.

      Soren Kierkegaard. (first part of thesis prob. written, 1838-9)
      translated, H.V.Hong & E.H.Hong. Princeton U.P., 2nd printing, 1992.

      I am a subjectivist existentialist. In reading and thinking about
      texts like these, I seek first and foremost to reproduce whatever I
      there [in the text] find true, in my own life, i.e., motivation,
      desire, speech, action. Verbal commentary can be very hard to
      attain. It is all a process, to me, and conversation here at
      existlist, however oblique, is ideally intrinsic to that process.
      So you could go as far back as to Thales of Miletus [c.624-546BC],
      to Anaximander and Pythagoras, or forward to Socrates, Plato and
      Aristotle, for my models. Yes, it's good to talk, but it's even
      better to philosophise. Louise
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