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Mental dysfunction, poor scholarship and the errors of zeal

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  • louise
    I want to apologise for a serious philosophical unclarity. In my post 48728, Incognito , I postulated an immortal authorship. This amounts to a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 17 11:02 AM
      I want to apologise for a serious philosophical unclarity. In my post 48728, "Incognito", I postulated an immortal authorship. This amounts to a misrepresentation of Kierkegaard's assiduously careful practice of pseudonymous writing. The following passage from the Introduction to "Concluding Unscientific Postscript" makes clear how the existing author represents his relationship to the fictional author:

      ~ ... in order to avoid confusion, it is at once necessary to recall that our treatment of the problem does not raise the question of the truth of Christianity. It merely deals with the question of the individual's relationship to Christianity. It has nothing whatever to do with the systematic zeal of the personally indifferent individual to arrange the truths of Christianity in paragraphs; it deals with the concern of the infinitely interested individual for his own relationship to such a doctrine. To put it as simply as possible, using myself by way of illustration: I, Johannes Climacus, born in this city and now thirty years old, a common ordinary human being like most people, assume that there awaits me a highest good, an eternal happiness, in the same sense that such a good awaits a servant-girl or a professor. I have heard that Christianity proposes itself as a condition for the acquirement of this good, and now I ask how I may establish a proper relationship to this doctrine. "What extraordinary presumption," I seem to hear a thinker say, "what egotistical vanity to dare lay so much stress upon one's own petty self in this theocentric age, in the speculatively significant nineteenth century, which is entirely immersed in the great problems of universal history." I shudder at the reproof; and if I had not already hardened myself against a number of fearful things, I would no doubt slink quietly away, like a dog with his tail between his legs. But my conscience is quite clear in this matter; it is not I who have become so presumptuous of my own accord, but it is Christianity itself which compels me to ask the question in this manner. It puts quite an extraordinary emphasis upon my own petty self, and upon every other self however petty, in that it proposes to endow each self with an eternal happiness, provided a proper relationship is established. ~

      Not only did I present a misleading characterisation of Johannes Climacus, with regard to an imputed immortality, I made my unstated justification for so doing the late date of the quoted entry from the Journal, reasoning with myself that by this time SK had become a Christian, and that accordingly he could be presented as dramatising the experience of conversion in this literary manner. Even if such a procedure from myself were reasonable, the fact remains that Climacus is a self-stated outsider to the faith, only presenting the faith's possibility to himself and his readers. The pseudonym who represents an existentially realised faith is Anti-Climacus, where 'anti' is an intensive - in other words, he represents a further step onwards from Climacus. Kierkegaard's work as an author reflects the progressive nature of his own existential striving.

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