Kierkegaard's 'Concluding Unscientific Postscript': A Critical Guide

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"S?ren Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript has provoked a lively variety of divergent interpretations for a century and a half. It has been both celebrated and condemned as the chief inspiration for twentieth-century existential thought, as a subversive parody of philosophical argument, as a critique of mass society, as a forerunner of phenomenology and of postmodern relativism, and as an appeal for a renewal of religious commitment. These new essays written by international Kierkegaard scholars offer a plurality of critical approaches to this fundamental text of existential philosophy. They cover hotly debated topics such as the tension between the Socratic-philosophical and the Christian-religious; the identity and personality of Kierkegaard's pseudonym 'Johannes Climacus'; his conceptions of paradoxical faith and of passionate understanding; his relation to his contemporaries and to some of his more distant predecessors; and, last but not least, his pertinence to our present-day concerns"-- Provided by publisher.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"....a guide of any merit should be welcome, and this one surely will be.... This book is remarkably free of typos or editing errors of any kind. It is to be highly recommended both for Kierkegaard scholars and for novices or those who want to explore for the first time one of the major works of a writer whom Wittgenstein praised as the greatest religious writer of the 19th century."
—Norman Lillegard, University of Tennessee-Martin, Philosophy in Review

"One of the most noteworthy features of Kierkegaard’s Concluding Unscientific Postscript: A Critical Guide is that it lives up to its subtitle. This collection truly is a guide to the work as a whole. That it serves as such is no small achievement, and it is surely a credit to the editor, Rick Anthony Furtak.... The dozen essays collected here speak to the largest themes of this notoriously difficult and overlong work and stay admirably focused on what the reader needs to keep in mind very generally to come to grips with the text.... This collection overall contains significant steps forward in our understanding of this complex text, the difficulty of which continues to reward the sharpest critical study."
—Jeffrey Hanson, Australian Catholic University, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521897983
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/31/2010
  • Series: Cambridge Critical Guides Series
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Rick Anthony Furtak is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Colorado College. His publications include Wisdom in Love: Kierkegaard and the Ancient Quest for Emotional Integrity (2005) and Rilke's 'Sonnets to Orpheus' (2007). A devoted teacher of existential thought, he has published widely on a variety of topics in moral psychology and in the philosophy of literature.

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Table of Contents

List of contributors


List of abbreviations

Introduction Rick Anthony Furtak Furtak, Rick Anthony 1

1 The "Socratic secret": the postscript to the Philosophical Crumbs M. Jamie Ferreira Ferreira, M. Jamie 6

2 Kierkegaard's Socratic pseudonym: a profile of Johannes Climacus Paul Muench Muench, Paul 25

3 Johannes Climacus' revocation Alastair Hannay Hannay, Alastair 45

4 From the garden of the dead: Climacus on interpersonal inwardness Edward F. Mooney Mooney, Edward F. 64

5 The Kierkegaardian ideal of "essential knowing" and the scandal of modern philosophy Rick Anthony Furtak Furtak, Rick Anthony 87

6 Lessing and Socrates in Kierkegaard's Postscript Jacob Howland Howland, Jacob 111

7 Climacus on subjectivity and the system Merold Westphal Westphal, Merold 132

8 Humor and irony in the Postscript John Lippitt Lippitt, John 149

9 Climacus on the task of becoming a Christian Clare Carlisle Carlisle, Clare 170

10 The epistemology of the Postscript M. G. Piety Piety, M. G. 190

11 Faith and reason in Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript C. Stephen Evans Evans, C. Stephen 204

12 Making Christianity difficult: the "existentialist theology" of Kierkegaard's Postscript David R. Law Law, David R. 219

Bibliography 247

Index 255

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