By Edward F. Mooney
Tracing a direction via Kierkegaard's writings, this ebook brings the reader into shut touch with the texts and reasons of this amazing nineteenth century Danish author and philosopher. Kierkegaard writes in a few voices and registers of shock, occasionally as a pointy observer and critic of Danish tradition, every now and then as an ethical psychologist, and infrequently Kierkegaard's major quandary is the evocation of a spiritual lifestyle.
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Additional info for On Soren Kierkegaard: Dialogue, Polemics, Lost Intimacy, and Time (Transcending Boundaries in Philosophy and Theology)
Even when we forget their place in an argument, we remember the Myth of Er, the parable of the Cave, Diotima’s speech, the Ring of Gyges. These narratives testify to Plato’s imaginative powers (and to the poetic, lyrical powers he passes on to Socrates). They stand on their own like operatic arias, even as we know that they’re part of a larger drama that features Socrates as the leading voice. From this angle, Socrates wears these on-stage tales as part of his alluring and puzzling verbal attire, as much a part of him as his beard.
Kierkegaard published an undersized seeming-academic book that, by its title (Philosophical Crumbs), promised only leftovers. He then published an overstuffed sequel that also promised to be unscholarly, an addendum that by its subtitle was a mere “mimic, pathetic compilation” (Concluding Unscholarly Postscript). He wanted to cut back the consumption of learning, and to remove untruth. This is not clearing rubble for a more “scientiﬁc” or “rigorous” ediﬁce in the manner of Descartes, whose skeptical doubt is a preparation for rebuilding.
As Socrates speaks, are we listening to Diotima, or to Socrates’ rendition of Diotima? Or is Diotima just a convenient pseudonym that Socrates invents? Why does Plato say that these speeches by Socrates, Diotima, Aristophanes, and others are reports from a gentleman who wasn’t there, but heard that several years past something like the symposium here recounted in fact occurred? ) Is this anonymous person a reliable conduit of truth? Each question irrupts to unsettle our practical certainty, and each unsettling impact forces imagination alive.