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Self-KnowledgeA History$
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Ursula Renz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190226411

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190226411.001.0001

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Self-Knowledge in Kierkegaard

Self-Knowledge in Kierkegaard

(p.205) Chapter eleven Self-Knowledge in Kierkegaard

John Lippitt

Oxford University Press

Kierkegaard shows an intense fascination with Socrates and Socratic self-knowledge. This chapter traces (1) the young Kierkegaard’s autobiographical reflections on self-knowledge, when first coming to understand his task as an author; (2) Socrates as a negative figure in The Concept of Irony—where self-knowledge is understood in terms of separation from others and the surrounding society (3) in Either/Or, the connection between self-knowledge and self-transparency, and the link between self-knowledge and “choosing oneself”, understood as willing receptivity; (4) in writings such as The Concept of Anxiety and The Sickness unto Death, the importance of sin and our utter dependence upon God for the question of whether self-knowledge is ever really possible; and (5) in Judge for Yourself! and related journal entries, a more precise specification of what Christian self-knowledge might amount to. Treatments of Kierkegaard as a proto-existentialist risk misleadingly downplaying the deeply and explicitly Christian nature of his thought.

Keywords:   Kierkegaard, self-knowledge, Socrates, subjectivity, irony, self-transparency, ethical, sin, Christian, Christianity

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