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Re: Looking for a quotation....

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  • Kenneth
    Jim, ...gulp... I hope this isn t where I get fired from the Kierkegaardians...I grasp that the distinction is critical... but if I want to be certain that I
    Message 1 of 85 , Dec 2, 2009

      Jim,  ...gulp... I hope this isn't where I get fired from the Kierkegaardians...I grasp that the distinction is critical... but if I want to be certain that I not use the word "dialectic" nonsensically.

      I assume, accordingly, that the critics have succeeded in proving about the Bible everything that any learned theologian in his happiest moment has ever wished to prove about the Bible. These books and no others belong to the canon; they are authentic; they are integral; their authors are trustworthy—one may well say, that it is as if every letter were inspired. More than this it is impossible to say, for inspiration is an object of faith and subject to a qualitative dialectic; it is incapable of being reached by a quantitative approximation.

      CUP, Copyright ~ 1941, by Princeton University Press, BOOK ONE - THE OBJECTIVE PROBLEM CONCERNING THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY, CHAPTER I - THE HISTORICAL POINT OF VIEW, p.29

       

      When one is indisposed to make the leap, so indisposed that this passion makes the chasm infinitely wide, then the most ingenious contrivance for the purpose will help one not at all. Lessing sees very clearly that the leap, as being decisive, is subject to a qualitative dialectic, and permits no approximating transition. His answer is therefore a jest. It is very far from being dogmatic; it is entirely correct dialectically, and it is personally evasive. Instead of hurriedly discovering the principle of mediation, he makes use of his old legs and his heavy head. To be sure, anyone who has young legs and a light head can doubtless leap.

      CUP, Copyright ~ 1941, by Princeton University Press, BOOK TWO - THE SUBJECTIVE PROBLEM; PART TWO – HOW THE SUBJECTIVITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MUST BE QUALIFIED; CHAPTER II – THESES POSSIBLY OR ACTUALLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO LESSING, p. 95

       

      …Ethics and the ethical, as constituting the essential anchorage for all individual existence, have an indefeasible claim upon every existing individual; so indefeasible a claim, that whatever a man may accomplish in the world, even to the most astonishing of achievements, it is none the less quite dubious in its significance, unless the  individual has been ethically clear when he made his choice, has ethically clarified his choice to himself. The ethical quality is jealous for its own integrity, and is quite unimpressed by the most astounding quantity.

      It is for this reason that Ethics looks upon all world-historical knowledge with a degree of suspicion, because it may so easily become a snare, a demoralizing aesthetic diversion for the knowing subject, in so far as the distinction between what does or does not have historical significance obeys a quantitative dialectic. As a consequence of this fact, the absolute ethical distinction between good and evil tends for the historical survey to be neutralized in the aesthetic-metaphysical determination of the great and significant, to which category the bad has equal admittance with the good. In the case of what has world-historic significance, another set of factors plays an essential rôle, factors which do not obey an ethical dialectic: accidents, circumstances, the play of forces entering into the historic totality that modifyingly incorporates the deed of the individual so as to transform it into something that does not directly belong to him. Neither by willing the good with all his strength, nor by satanic obduracy in willing what is evil, can a human being be assured of historical significance. Even in the case of misfortune the principle holds, that it is necessary to be fortunate in order that one's misfortune may obtain world-historical significance. How then does an individual acquire historical significance? By means of what from the ethical point of view is accidental. But Ethics regards as unethical the transition by which an individual renounces the ethical quality in order to try his fortune, longingly, wishingly, and so forth, in the quantitative and non-ethical.

      CUP, Copyright ~ 1941, by Princeton University Press, BOOK TWO - THE SUBJECTIVE PROBLEM; PART TWO – HOW THE SUBJECTIVITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MUST BE QUALIFIED; CHAPTER I – THE TASK OF BECOMING SUBJECTIVE, p. 119-120 [Actually this chapter contains the references to "quantitative" dialectic.]

       

      Reality is for the poet merely an occasion, a point of departure, from which he goes in search of the ideality of the possible. The pathos of the poet is therefore essentially imaginative pathos. An attempt ethically to establish a poetic relationship to reality is therefore a misunderstanding, a backward step. Here as everywhere the different spheres must be kept clearly distinct, and the qualitative dialectic, with its decisive mutation that changes everything so that what was highest in one sphere is rendered in another sphere absolutely inadmissible, must be respected. As for the religious, it is an essential requirement that it should have passed through the ethical. A religious poet is therefore in a peculiar position. Such a poet will seek to establish a relation to the religious through the imagination; but for this very reason he succeeds only in establishing an aesthetic relationship to something aesthetic…. To be outstanding in the religious sphere constitutes precisely a step backward, by virtue of the qualitative dialectic which separates the different spheres from one another.

      CUP, Copyright ~ 1941, by Princeton University Press, BOOK TWO - THE SUBJECTIVE PROBLEM;; CHAPTER IV – HOW CAN AN ETERNAL HAPPINESS BE BASED UPON HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE?; Section II. THE PROBLEM ITSELF, A. Existential Pathos, §1. The "Initial" Expression For Existential Pathos, p. 347-348

       

      It is necessary always to hold the different spheres apart by the use of the qualitative dialectic, sharply distinguishing them lest everything come to be all of a piece, the poet becoming a bungler when he wants to take a little of the religious with him, and the religious speaker becoming a deceiver who delays and obstructs his listener by wishing to dabble a little in the aesthetic. As soon as the religious address divides men into the fortunate and the unfortunate, it ipso facto botches its job…

      CUP, Copyright ~ 1941, by Princeton University Press, BOOK TWO - THE SUBJECTIVE PROBLEM;; CHAPTER IV – HOW CAN AN ETERNAL HAPPINESS BE BASED UPON HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE?; Section II. THE PROBLEM ITSELF, A. Existential Pathos, §2. The "Essential" Expression For Existential Pathos, p. 390-391

       

      B.  THE DIALECTICAL

      It was with this subject the Fragments essentially dealt; I can therefore refer constantly to that book, and can express myself here the more briefly. The difficulty consists merely in holding fast the qualitative dialectic of the absolute paradox and bidding defiance to the illusions. In the case of that which can and shall be and wills to be the absolute paradox, the incomprehensible, it requires passion to hold fast dialectically the definition of incomprehensibility. Ludicrous as it is therefore, in the case of something which can be understood, to hear superstitious and fanatical persons utter dark sayings about its incomprehensibility; the inverse case is just as ludicrous: when it is a case of the essential paradox, to behold efforts to want to understand it, as though the task were not the qualitative opposite, namely, to hold fast the fact that it cannot be understood, lest non-understanding, i.e. misunderstanding, end by confusing all the other spheres as well…. All of this which irony has to scent out and bring to light has its ground in the fact that one does not respect the qualitative dialectic of the spheres, does not notice that while in the case of the incomprehensible, which nevertheless is essentially comprehensible, the explanation is meritorious, it is not meritorious in the case of the essentially incomprehensible. The misunderstanding has its ground in the fact that, notwithstanding the use of Christ's name etc., one has managed to push Christianity back into the aesthetic sphere (in which unwittingly the hyper-orthodox especially are successful) where the incomprehensible is the relatively incomprehensible (relative either with regard to the fact that it has not yet been understood, or to the fact that in order to understand it there is requisite a seer with the eye of a hawk), which is followed by comprehensibility or understanding as a higher position in time, whereas on the contrary Christianity is an existence-communication which makes existence paradoxical and remains paradoxical as long as one exists, and only eternity possesses the explanation, so that it is not in the least meritorious, as long as one is in time, to want to dabble in explanations, that is, to want to imagine that one is in eternity, for as long as one is in time the qualitative dialectic designates every such attempt as unwarranted dabbling. The qualitative dialectic enjoins that one is not to fool in abstracto with that which is the highest, and hence want to dabble at it, but must comprehend in concreto one's essential task and essentially express it.

      CUP, Copyright ~ 1941, by Princeton University Press, BOOK TWO - THE SUBJECTIVE PROBLEM;; CHAPTER IV – HOW CAN AN ETERNAL HAPPINESS BE BASED UPON HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE?; Section II. THE PROBLEM ITSELF, B. The Dialectical, p. 498-499

       

      Kenneth A.


      --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, James Rovira <jamesrovira@...> wrote:
      >
      > Kenneth --
      >
      > Can you quote the passages from K you're thinking of? K poses a difference
      > between quantitative and qualitative effects of sin (I think) in Concept of
      > Anxiety. Part of his point is that an increase in quantity by itself cannot
      > change the quality of the thing. I don't recall him discussing the
      > difference between the qualitative and the quantitative in relationship to
      > the dialectic, however, but you may be thinking of a different text.
      >
      > Many thanks to Don for locating the text :).
      >
      > Thanks,
      >
      > Jim R
      >
      > Jim,
      >
      > > Thanks for your patience. I presume this is all quite remedial to the
      > > other members. Perhaps your foregoing explanation has already answered
      > > my next question, and I may be just staring past the obvious. Just by
      > > reading I have accumulated some degree of working-definition, but in my head
      > > it’s still floating out there disconnected.
      > >
      > > K finds it critical that an existing individual properly distinguish
      > > spheres as being subject to either a “qualitative†dialectic or a
      > > “quantitative†dialectic. Can you help me connect this to your
      > > explanation?
      > >
      > > 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, 2009
        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.

         

        Don



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