Kierkegaard: Philosophy in an Hour, Paul Strathern
Paul Strathern

Kierkegaard: Philosophy in an Hour

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Philosophy for busy people. Read a succinct account of the philosophy of Kierkegaard in just one hour.
Although Kierkegaard was not a philosopher in the academic sense, he produced what many people expect of philosophy. He didn’t write about the world, he wrote about life – how we live and how we choose to live, particularly focussing on the individual and the notion of his (or her) existence. Kierkegaard was one of the founders of existentialism, regarding the ‘existing being’ as a purely subjective entity that lay beyond the reach of reason, logic, philosophical systems, theology and even ‘the pretences of psychology’, yet simultaneously remaining the source of all these subjects.
Here is a concise, expert account of Kierkegaard’s life and philosophical ideas – entertainingly written and easy to understand. Also included are selections from Kierkegaard’s work, suggested further reading, and chronologies that place Kierkegaard in the context of the broader scheme of philosophy.
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Joost Klooster
Joost Kloosterhas quoted5 months ago
On a basic level, the individual who lives the aesthetic life is not in control of his existence. He lives for the moment, prompted by pleasure. His life may be self-contradictory, lacking in stability or certainty. Even on a more calculating level, the aesthetic life remains ‘experimental’. We follow a certain pleasure only as long as it appeals to us.

The inadequacy of the aesthetic viewpoint is fundamental. This is because it relies upon the external world. It ‘expects everything from without’. In this way it is passive and lacking in freedom. It relies upon things that remain ultimately beyond the control of its will – such as power, possessions, or even friendship. It is contingent, dependent upon the ‘accidental’. There is nothing ‘necessary’ about it.

If we understand such things, we see the ultimate inadequacy of the aesthetic existence. When an individual who lives the aesthetic life reflects on his existence, he soon realises that it is lacking in any certainty or meaning. Such a realisation often leads to despair.

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