In this course we will explore how Kierkegaard deals with the problems associated with relativism, the lack of meaning and the undermining of religious faith that are typical of modern life. His penetrating analyses are still highly relevant today and have been seen as insightful for the leading figures of Existentialism, Post-Structuralism and Post-Modernism.
It is often claimed that relativism, subjectivism and nihilism are typically
modern philosophical problems that emerge with the breakdown of traditional
values, customs and ways of life. The result is the absence of meaning,
the lapse of religious faith, and feeling of alienation that is so widespread
The Danish thinker Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55) gave one of the most penetrating analyses of this complex phenomenon of modernity. But somewhat surprisingly he seeks insight into it not in any modern thinker but rather in an ancient one, the Greek philosopher Socrates.
Part 1: Kierkegaard on Socratic Irony
Week 1: Course Introduction: The Life and Work of Kierkegaard as a “Socratic Task”
Week 2: Kierkegaard, Martensen and Hegelianism at the University of Copenhagen
Week 3: Kierkegaard’s View of Socrates
Part 2: Kierkegaard on
Week 4: Kierkegaard, Heiberg and History
Week 5: Kierkegaard, P.M. Møller and Friedrich von Schlegel
Part 3: Kierkegaard’s
Week 6: The Conception of Kierkegaard’s Socratic Task: 1843: The Trip to Berlin and the Beginning of the Authorship
Week 7: Kierkegaard’s Socratic Task: 1844-45: The Development of the Pseudonymous Works
Week 8: Kierkegaard’s Socratic Task: 1846-55: The Second Half of the Authorship and the Attack on the Church
No prior knowledge of Kierkegaard is required. The course will be on an advanced undergraduate level, and it will be an advantage for students to have some prior knowledge or idea about the history of philosophy.
For students who wish to dig deeper than what is presented in video-presentations, texts, and assignments there will be supplementary readings for all course modules.