Kierkegaard's Dialectic of Inwardness

Kierkegaard's Dialectic of Inwardness: A Structural Analysis of the Theory of Stages

STEPHEN NORTHRUP DUNNING
Copyright Date: 1985
Pages: 342
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvt9d
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  • Book Info
    Kierkegaard's Dialectic of Inwardness
    Book Description:

    Stephen Dunning examines Kierkegaard's theory of stages in terms of his dialectic of inwardness, shown here to be the Ariadne's thread" uniting all the major pseudonymous works.

    Originally published in 1985.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5770-8
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. CHARTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
  6. NOTE ON TEXTS
    (pp. xiv-2)
  7. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-5)

    “Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day” (2 Cor. 4:16). The Pauline conviction that there are two natures in every person—an outer, transient nature that is opposed to or at least radically independent of an inner, eternal nature—has inspired and instructed Christians for many centuries. Only in the 1840s, however, in the pseudonymous works of Søren Kierkegaard, does the concept of inwardness as such become the central theme in the thought of a Christian philosopher. Many ideas are interwoven in those complex works, some appearing in one and some in...

  8. ONE Training in Dialectics: The Structure of Kierkegaard’s Dissertation
    (pp. 6-31)

    In 1841, Kierkegaard submitted and defended a dissertation entitledThe Concept of Irony. There is general agreement that this work has a clear Hegelian structure, at least in part one, although debate continues as to whether those elements are intended seriously or ironically. Those who treat them as ironical suggest thatThe Concept of Ironyis really Kierkegaard’s first “pseudonymous” work, for it does not, in their judgment, reflect the views of Kierkegaard himself.¹ I choose to begin withThe Concept of Ironyfor another reason. As a text that embodies a clear dialectical structure, it is evidence of Kierkegaard’s...

  9. TWO The Dialectic of Aesthetic Contradiction
    (pp. 32-73)

    Kierkegaard’s major writings on the aesthetic stage are volume I ofEither/Orand “In Vino Veritas,” which is the first section ofStages on Life’s Way. It is striking that here contradiction is not only the mechanism of the dialectic, as inThe Concept of Irony; it is also the subject matter of the entire discussion. Whereas a Hegelian dialectic always continues until all contradictions are overcome, aesthetic contradiction, as presented in these works, is itself the essential concept that develops through the complex unfolding of movements and moments.

    That the principle of contradiction is central toEither/Oris clear...

  10. THREE The Ethical as a Stage
    (pp. 74-104)

    Although Kierkegaard wrote many edifying discourses that treat one or another aspect of the ethical life, it is in the writings of the pseudonym Judge William that the notion of the ethical as a stage is developed. The Judge is credited with volume II ofEither/Or,¹ comprising two long letters to A, “Aesthetic Validity of Marriage” and “Equilibrium Between the Aesthetical and the Ethical in the Composition of the Personality,” and supplemented by “Ultimatum,” which is purportedly a copy of a sermon written by a priest and friend of the Judge; and “Various Observations about Marriage, in Reply to Objections,”...

  11. FOUR Approaches to the Religious Stage
    (pp. 105-140)

    Whereas Judge William domesticates religious language in an effort to make it serve his own ethical point of view, a number of the pseudonyms created by Kierkegaard present the religious as a sphere that is distinctly different from that which they themselves occupy. In this chapter, I examine those works in which the religious is portrayed primarily in terms of how it appears to those in lower stages: to an aesthete inRepetition, to an ethicist inFear and Trembling, and to a speculative thinker who relates the religious to both the aesthetic and the ethical in “ ‘Guilty?’/‘Not Guilty?’,”...

  12. FIVE Varieties of Religious Dialectic
    (pp. 141-180)

    In the preceding chapters, several types of dialectical reason have been found in the pseudonymous works examined. In volume I ofEither/Or, the dialectical structure of aesthetic inwardness is systematic and progressive in character, much in the manner of a Hegelian phenomenological development. Volume II manifests only abortive efforts to create dialectical structures: the Judge’s ethical views display a dialectic of reciprocity, a term Kierkegaard uses for dialectical reason that fails to establish either clear dualities or genuine unities. These two examples of dialectical thought, representing respectively the aesthetic and ethical stages, are each confirmed by the relevant sections of...

  13. SIX The Dialectic of Religious Inwardness
    (pp. 181-213)

    It is not unusual for interpreters to treatConcluding Unscientific Postscriptas the definitive statement of Kierkegaard’s religious philosophy. Such a procedure could be adopted in a study of his dialectic of inwardness also, forPostscriptis the text in which that dialectic reaches its culmination. Furthermore, its pseudonymous author, Johannes Climacus, continues here the polemic against mediation that he began inPhilosophical Fragmentsand argues strenuously that Christianity can be understood only in terms of paradox. UnlikeFragments, however,Postscriptis also susceptible to systematic analysis: embedded within the attack upon systematic thought is a systematic dialectical structure of...

  14. SEVEN The Dialectical Structure of Consciousness: The Anti-Climacus Writings
    (pp. 214-241)

    Of all the major pseudomyms, Anti-Climacus is the thinnest, the least developed, the one whose identification with Kierkegaard himself seems least open to question.¹ Kierkegaard writes that he intended to publishThe Sickness unto DeathandPractice in Christianity² under his own name, and only at the last minute decided to use the pseudonym and relegate himself (on the title page) to the position of one “responsible for publication.”³ His explanation of this decision focuses upon his concern for security in the future and thus deflects attention from the literary and conceptual ambiguity of the two works.

    Formally, the Anti-Climacus...

  15. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 242-252)

    One test of any critical argument is its ability to illuminate the matter in question. In the case of this book, the matter is Kierkegaard’s pseudomymous literature. It is my hope that the preceding analyses will enable readers of that literature to see several dimensions that have previously gone unnoticed.

    (1) The pervasive nature of the dialectic of inner and outer commends it as an Ariadne’s thread, a common theme that permits the interpreter to relate the various pseudonyms to one another without according to any of them priority over the others.

    (2) The dialectic of self and other, although...

  16. NOTES
    (pp. 253-296)
  17. WORKS CITED
    (pp. 297-306)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 307-323)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 324-324)