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Kierkegaard and the Limits of the Ethical$
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Anthony Rudd

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198752189

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198752189.001.0001

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Knowledge and Existence

Knowledge and Existence

(p.27) 2 Knowledge and Existence
Kierkegaard and the Limits of the Ethical

Anthony Rudd

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Søren Kierkegaard's theory of knowledge, his critique of Hegelian metaphysics, his treatment of scepticism, and his conception of subjective truth. These are not only important and interesting in themselves; they also provide a background against which to understand his ethical and religious writings. Kierkegaard's conclusion is that the purely disengaged approach to knowledge can eventually lead only to scepticism, which is not theoretically refutable, but which can only be broken with by an act of will, a refusal to accept the validity of the wholly disengaged stance. In this chapter, however, a different kind of knowledge becomes possible, based not on the effort to be objective, but on a commitment to subjectivity, on passionate concern, rather than dispassionate observation.

Keywords:   Søren Kierkegaard, theory of knowledge, metaphysics, scepticism, subjective truth, disengagement, subjectivity

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