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Re: [Kierkegaardians] Re: Looking for a quotation....

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  • James Rovira
    Yes, Kenneth, the concept of the dialectic is central to K s pseudonymous authorship. The relationship between the stages is dialectical. The two main
    Message 1 of 85 , Dec 1 7:33 AM
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      Yes, Kenneth, the concept of the dialectic is central to K's pseudonymous authorship.  The relationship between the stages is dialectical.  The two main sources for dialectic in K is Plato/Socrates (Greek tradition generally, perhaps), and Hegel (particularly in his book The Science of Logic). 

      In the Greek tradition, a dialectic is simply a conversation between two people which consists of one person asking yes or no questions and the other providing answers.  These questions lead to a conclusion which the person being queried has to accept if s/he has answered yes to all previous questions.  Plato's dialogs generally follow this format.


      -Is Socrates a man?
      -Are all men mortal?
      -Therefore, isn't Socrates mortal?

      This form of dialectic becomes abbreviated in the syllogism, which simply presents the same argument in the form of a major premise, minor premise, and conclusion.  The major premise is usually a statement about a specific subject, the minor premise usually a general truth that everyone would agree with, and the conclusion is arrived at by combining the two:

      Major premise: Socrates is a man.
      Minor premise: All men are mortal.
      Conclusion: Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

      The enthymeme, many of which are described in Aristotle's book Rhetoric, is a further abbreviation, namely, an abbreviation of the syllogism into a single sentence which connects a claim (statement you want your listeners to support) to a reason (reason you give your listeners for accepting your claim) using the words "because" or "for."

      The claim is the conclusion of the syllogism, and the reason is the major premise.  The minor premise is left unstated, because it is a general truth that your audience already agrees with.  Aristotle loved enthymemes for this reason, as they require your listeners to participate in the reasoning process, completing it, making the argument more convincing.

      So the syllogism above, stated in enthymeme form, would be:

      Socrates is mortal because he is a man.
      claim                                        reason
      conclusion                           major premise

      A 20thC British philosopher named Toulmin used the words "claim" and "reason" to describe these parts of an enthymeme, and "warrant" to describe the unstated minor premise that connects the claim to the reason.           

      The grammar of the sentence becomes important later on in western philosophy, a particular point of concern for Hegel.  Just note that the subject is "Socrates" and the predicate is "mortal" -- what does it take for you to become a "subject" in a sentence like this, a thing possessing properties?  More importantly, what does it take for you to become _self-consciously_ a subject, so that you are aware of yourself as a discreet "thing" (so to speak) possessing properties and able to act? 

      The Hegelian dialectic is a variation of the Socratic dialectic.  Hegel argues in Science of Logic that when a concept arises, it always and immediately implies its opposite, which negates it.  So to use a simplistic spatial image, if you come up with a concept "up," you imply the concept "down" with it -- even if you don't realize immediately that you have done so.   

      Every concept has within it its opposite and negation.    

      The concept and its negation unite into a third concept that contains both but invalidates both as independent entities.  So the separate concepts "up" and "down" may be unified in the concept of "three-dimensional space," so that "up" and "down" don't really make sense by themselves anymore. 

      Kierkegaard's pseudonyms usually thought in terms of a Hegelian dialectic but paid serious and consistent attention to the Socratic form of the dialectic. 

      Jim R

      On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 11:03 PM, two_k_dad <karmstrong@...> wrote:

      I am a newbie here.   I am not sure how to properly use the messaging.  I appreciate your kind invitation.

      RE: My views of K...  I find a shared "wonder" with him but of  intellectually much smaller caliber.  I resonate with the portion I seem to grasp.  My background is not philosophy. I came across his name repeatedly. Tried a little taste.  A year later I've read several of his works, and some several times. 

      If I were to start a discussion it would be this:

      Although I've attempted to digest 20-30 works of SK, I'm embarrassed for my deficient grasp of "dialectic", "dialectical", "dialectician". My education never included these words in any way similar to SK's usage... which seems to rest on a very explicit concept and is bound to have been published somewhere. I spent some time searching on-line but without satisfaction. Where might one discover the school for the dialectically challenged?

      Kenneth A

    • James Rovira
      I agree, Don. What I would say now, to clarify my previous post, is that the author of E/O I is himself essentially a German Romantic but is employing
      Message 85 of 85 , Dec 9 4:32 PM
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        I agree, Don.  What I would say now, to clarify my previous post, is that the author of E/O I is himself essentially a German Romantic but is employing Hegelian models of thought to explicate his views of an aesthetic personality.  

        But once I've said it this way, the aesthete's reflective thought verges on self-reflective thought.  

        I think that both the authors of E/O I and II follow Hegelian models to frame their thought, the good Judge arguing that the ethical is a synthesis proceeding from the contradictions inherent in the aesthetic -- so he argues for the aesthetic validity of marriage, something the aesthete hasn't considered and probably won't, regardless of what the Judge says.       

        Jim R

        On Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 6:57 PM, Don Anderson <don@...> wrote:

        JimR, you said:


        I'm not sure Don is wrong about seeing Hegel, but I do certainly agree with him that E/O II presents a limited outlook, one that K would not agree with himself.  E/O I is strongly Hegelian.  E/O II may be more Kantian.  It is not yet Kierkegaardian, though, in my opinion.


        Thank you for this.  I would just comment that I think E/O I is  not so much Hegelian (or German idealist) as it is the representation romanticism. As Lillian Swenson remarks in her “forward by the Reviser”, volume 1 is written by a “young romanticist” and volume 2 is written by a “mature ethical idealist.” Both have elements of Hegelianism as well as Kant, Fichte, The Greeks, and others. They rather stand alone as a representative of their position toward existence.



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