plugin-Kierkegaard%20handout - Kierkegaard Truth and...

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Kierkegaard: Truth and Inwardness Life: Copenhagen, 1813-1855. A sickly young man, son of a Lutheran pastor. For a year he pursued the ‘aesthetic’ life (the life of pleasure), but he found it self-defeating. He then had the opportunity to be a minister, as well as to be married to the woman that he loved, but rejected this life also to pursue his mission. (See the three modes of life below.) He then dedicated himself to his astoundingly prodigious literary output, almost a lonely monastic with a façade of worldliness and ease. He wanted his gravestone to read: ‘The Individual’. Truth as subjectivity This does not mean that truth itself is relative to or conforms to our feelings, culture, etc. (There are objective facts out there in the world, though often we can’t be certain of them.) Instead, the idea is that we need to conform to truth . It has to matter to us. Consider someone is lying on the street suffering. o One person knows exactly how the person feels in some abstract sense and knows all sorts of facts about the suffering (its cause, etc), but isn’t moved. o The other person knows only a bit about the suffering; is moved to care. She has compassion. She gives the truth its proper significance : she makes it matter inwardly. o Question: Who has more truth? Likewise X might understand an ethical theory—or religious truths— but then ignore them; while Y might understand these things less well but put them into action. Conforming to truth with the intellect gets you a true belief . But conforming your whole being to a truth gets you passionate inwardness . (This is not a matter of passive feelings or an experience that carries you away. It’s a choice.) What would it be for a whole life to stand in this sort of relationship to a truth? In a way it would be for the whole life to mean that truth, to be ABOUT that truth. (Clearly this is one sense in which a life can have a meaning.) Is a truth even worth knowing if it cannot be lived? Obviously, this relates to the existentialist themes of subjectivity and authenticity. On Becoming A Christian SK was sick of systems of philosophy and religion with no practical application, and sick of people who accepted such systems abstractly and then went along with their own business. He said: I want a truth that I can live and die for. He chose Christianity, and claimed that
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plugin-Kierkegaard%20handout - Kierkegaard Truth and...

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