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Re: Response to Recent Postings

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  • Will Brown
    JimS, A short side note on my background in philosophy: none. When I got my engineering degree, back in the dark ages it seems, the Humanities was not a
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 30, 2004
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      JimS, A short side note on my background in philosophy: none. When I
      got my engineering degree, back in the dark ages it seems, the
      Humanities was not a required subject, so I never even got to
      Philosophy 101. Aside from Kierkegaard, and forays into Sartre and
      Nietzsche, both of whom I found sorely wanting, I am only of the
      dabbler sort. Well, now that I think of it, I always kept up on
      philosophy as it pertained to science. I do look up philosophers on
      the web as their names come up and I am expanding my horizon. Oh well,
      I am still a dabbler when it comes to philosophy.

      I have done some thinking over the years on SK's relation with
      Christianity, both in respect to his description of what it means to
      be a Christian and to his attack on the its structure. This subject
      intrigues me because I came to SK as a purely secular being, and if I
      had to place myself now, I would say that I am a secular being raised
      to the second power, what SK probably calls Religiousness A. Just
      before I stumbled into SK, I spent about 18 months involved with Zen,
      complete with a Temple, a Roshi, and a Koan, here in the City of the
      Angels; that was in the very early '70's. I found them speaking to the
      disjunction, but their dogma and ritual seemed unnecessary except
      perhaps to capture the seeker. That dogma and ritual reminds me much
      of the Christianity SK eventually tagged as the esthetic brand of
      Christianity.

      The first two quotes below shows that to get to B, it is necessary to
      get to A. It is already given that to get to the religious categories,
      it is necessary to get to the ethical sphere. The last quote I find
      very interesting. The whole structure of SK in respect to Christianity
      I find a fascinating structure. There are some scholars who suggest
      that had SK lived a few years longer, he might have become, at the
      least, a Pluralist. Anyway, whenever you want to get into the last
      part of CUP, I am more than willing, in fact, I will gladly explore it
      with you. willy

      Religiousness A must be present in the individual before there can be
      any consideration if becoming aware of the dialectical B." (CUP, Hong,
      p. 556; Lowrie, p. 494)

      "Religiousness A can be present in paganism, and in Christianity it
      can be the religiousness of everyone who is not decisively Christian,
      whether baptized or not." (CUP, Hong, p. 557; Lowrie, p. 495)

      "A human being according to his possibility is eternal and becomes
      conscious of this in time: But that the by-nature eternal comes into
      existence in time, is born, grows up, and dies is a break with all
      thinking. If, however, the coming into existence of the eternal in
      time is supposed to be an eternal coming into existence, then
      Religiousness B is abolished, 'all theology is anthropology,'
      Christianity is changed from an existence-communication into an
      ingenious metaphysical doctrine addressed to professors, and
      Religiousness A is prinked up with an esthetic-metaphysical
      ornamentation that in categorical respects neither adds not detracts."
      (CUP, Hong, p. 579: Lowrie, p. 513)


      --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "Jim Stuart" <jimstuart@n...>
      wrote:
      > Hi Willy,
      >
      > Thanks for your further elaboration of the theme of inwardness in
      Kierkegaard.
      >
      > You also write: "If I may, to change the direction of our dialogue,
      assuming you wish to pick it back up, what is there about his writing
      that attracts you? Something catches your attention, as it does with
      most who read him. Somehow, he is seen to be speaking to our inner
      being, that second subjectivity, as it were."
      >
      > I am attracted to Kierkegaard because he writes with a passion and
      an intensity which is rare indeed. Not only that, but he also always
      seems to be writing about the most important things in life - how it
      is possible for us to live the best of lives, and how we are so easily
      tempted to be satisfied with less than the best. I always feel when
      reading SK that my time could not be better spent. The only other
      philosophers who have affected me so strongly are Socrates, Nietzsche
      and Wittgenstein.
      >
      > I was first put on to Kierkegaard by a friend when I was closely
      considering Christianity. I read his "Attack on Christendom", and both
      in this work, and his other works which I have subsequently read, I
      felt that he was closer to the heart of Christianity than almost any
      Christian since Jesus, Saint Paul and the gospel writers. For SK,
      Christian faith was not just one aspect of his life amongst others, it
      was the be-all and end-all of life. This is surely how it should be,
      if one is a Christian.
      >
      > Jim
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jim Stuart
      Hi Willy, I ve just finished reading Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and after I have re-read my notes, I ll try to formulate my thoughts on the two issues
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 1, 2005
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        Hi Willy,

        I've just finished reading Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and after I have re-read my notes, I'll try to formulate my thoughts on the two issues which I have found most interesting and significant in the book: (1) SK's idea that truth is subjectivity; and (2) his demarcation of four spheres of human existence - the aesthetic, the ethical, religiousness A, and religiousness B.

        I think SK is right to claim that it is a very hard thing to become a Christian (= to exist in the sphere of religiousness B), and that to reach this highest level of existence one must ascend through the lower spheres.

        It is interesting to note that the pseudonyms of SK's most significant works (Johannes de silentio and Johannes Climacus) claim that they have not become men of faith, i.e. they have not themselves reached the sphere of religiousness B.

        For myself, I sometimes think I have reached the ethical sphere of existence, while at other times I think I am still at the aesthetic stage. In my own secular language, I would characterise the difference between these two spheres as the difference between a life lived with the aim of attaining pleasure, and a life lived with the aim of attaining virtue.

        Jim



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Will Brown
        Hi JimS, a short note. The point you raise (see below) is interesting in that I see many scholars puzzling over SK s pseudonymous denial of being a Christian.
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 1, 2005
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          Hi JimS, a short note. The point you raise (see below) is interesting
          in that I see many scholars puzzling over SK's pseudonymous denial of
          being a Christian. The quote I have appended puts his denial in
          perspective; he says why he did it. willy

          JS: <It is interesting to note that the pseudonyms of SK's most
          significant works (Johannes de silentio and Johannes Climacus) claim
          that they have not become men of faith, i.e. they have not themselves
          reached the sphere of religiousness B.>

          "Never have I fought in such a way that I have said: I am a true
          Christian; the others are not Christians, or probably even hypocrites
          and the like. No, I have fought in this way: /I know what Christianity
          is/; I myself acknowledge my defects as a Christian – but I do know
          what Christianity is. And to come to know this thoroughly seems to me
          to be in the interest of every human being, whether one is now a
          Christian or a non-Christian, whether one's intention is to accept
          Christianity or to abandon it. But I have attacked no one, saying that
          he is not a Christian; I have passed judgment on no one. Indeed, the
          pseudonymous writer Johannes Climacus, who poses the issue of
          'becoming a Christian,' does even the opposite, denies being a
          Christian and accords this to the others – surely the greatest
          possible distance from passing judgment upon others! And I myself have
          from the start enjoined and again and again repeated stereotypically:
          I am without authority." (PV, Hong, p.15) (On My Work as an Author)
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