A Confusion of the Spheres: Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein on Philosophy and Religion

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Cursory allusions to the relation between Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein are common in the philosophical literature, but there has been little in the way of serious and comprehensive commentary on the relationship of their ideas. Genia Schönbaumsfeld closes this gap and offers new readings of Kierkegaard's and Wittgenstein's conceptions of philosophy and religious belief.

Chapter one documents Kierkegaard's influence on Wittgenstein, while chapters two and three provide trenchant criticisms of two prominent attempts to compare the two thinkers, those by D. Z. Phillips and James Conant. In chapter four, Schönbaumsfeld develops Kierkegaard's and Wittgenstein's concerted criticisms of the "spaceship view" of religion and defends it against the common charges of "fideism" and "irrationalism".

As well as contributing to contemporary debate about how to read Kierkegaard's and Wittgenstein's work, A Confusion of the Spheres addresses issues which not only concern scholars of Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard, but anyone interested in the philosophy of religion, or the ethical aspects of philosophical practice as such.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199229826
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/17/2007
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Genia Schonbaumsfeld is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Southampton.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements viii Introduction 1
1 Kierkegaard's Influence on Wittgenstein's Thought 10 Introduction 10 I Testimonial Evidence 13 II References to Kierkegaard in Wittgenstein's Writings 22 Conclusion 35
2 The Point of Kierkegaard's and Wittgenstein's Philosophical Authorship 37 Introduction 37 I Parallels in Kierkegaard's and Wittgenstein's Conception of Philosophy 38 II Objections to a 'Symmetrical' Reading 59 Conclusion 83
3 Sense and Ineffabilia-Kierkegaard and the Tractatus 84 Introduction 84 I Conant's Reading of the Tractatus 87 II A Critique of Conant's Reading of the Tractatus 93 III Interim Conclusions 118 IV Conant's Reading of the Postscript 119 V A Critique of Conant's Reading of the Postscript 123 VI Interim Conclusions 138 VII Kierkegaard and the Mysticism of the Tractatus 139 Conclusion 151
4 A Confusion of the Spheres-Kierkegaard's and Wittgenstein's Conception of Religious Belief 156 Introduction 156 I The 'Target View' of Religion 157 II A Critique of the 'Target View': The Kierkegaard-Wittgenstein Conception 159 III Objections to the Kierkegaard-Wittgenstein Conception 175 Conclusion 195 Conclusion 197 Select Bibliography 202 Index 211
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