Unit 7: Existentialism

Selected Readings on Søren Kierkegaard

In 2010, The Guardian ran a series of eight pieces by Clare Carlisle on Kierkegaard as part of their philosophy and religion series, How to Believe. Brief excerpts of each are included below, per their Open License Terms, follow by a link to the complete text at The Guardian.

Kierkegaard’s World, Part 1: What Does it Mean to Exist?

For Kierkegaard, the most pressing question for each person is the meaning of his or her own existence

It is difficult to categorise Søren Kierkegaard: to some readers he is primarily a philosopher, to others a Christian thinker or theologian. He was also a perceptive psychologist and incisive cultural critic. But above all, Kierkegaard was a writer. Much of his adult life was spent pacing around his Copenhagen apartment, composing out loud the sentences that he would then write down, still standing, at his tall desk.

He was extraordinarily prolific, producing on average a couple of books each year during the 1840s. [continue reading here]


Kierkegaard’s World, Part 2: The Truth of Knowledge and the Truth of LIfe

Kierkegaard understood that, when faced with a choice in real life, no amount of knowledge can resolve the dilemma.

One of Kierkegaard’s most influential ideas is his distinction between two kinds of truth. Sometimes he describes these as “objective” and “subjective” truth; sometimes as truth that is known, and truth that is lived. According to Kierkegaard, it is the lived, subjective kind of truth that is most important to each existing human being. [continue reading here]




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