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Kierkegaard's Recurring Criticism of Hegel's ‘The Good and Conscience’

  • Jon Stewart (a1)

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Kierkegaard was, at least during his early years, an avid reader of Hegel's philosophy. For example, his dissertation, The Concept of Irony, constitutes a careful study of, among other things, Hegel's account of Socrates in the Lectures on the History of Philosophy, and of Hegel's discussion of Romantic irony in both the Lectures on Aesthetics and the book review of Solger's Posthumous Writings. Similarly, in connection with the analysis of Antigone in Either/Or and the discussion of universals and particulars in the unfinished Johannes Climacus or De Omnibus dubitandum est, Part Two, there is clear evidence that Kierkegaard consulted the relevant parts of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. Based on these examples, Kierkegaard's use of Hegel can almost always be characterised as ad hoc. He goes directly to specific passages or discussions in Hegel's texts, which are of special interest in connection with works that he himself is writing. Thus, when working on The Concept of Irony, the first part of which is concerned with Socratic irony, Kierkegaard goes specifically to the section in Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy that treats Socrates, without feeling any obligation to read the book from cover to cover.

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Grégoire, Franz (1996), ‘The “Divinity” of the State in Hegel,’ in Steward, Jon ed., The Hegel Myths and Legends. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 289300.
Hegel, G. W. F. (1840), Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Geschichte, 2nd ed., Hegel, Karl ed., vol. 9 in Boumann, Ludwig et al. eds., Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's Werke. Vollständige Ausgabe, vols. 1–18. Berlin: Duncker und Humblot 1832–45.
Hegel, G. W. F. (1998), Lectures on Fine Art, [1975] vols. 1–2, trans. Knox, T. M.. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Hegel, G. W. F. (2002), ‘Review of Solger's Posthumous Writings and Correspondence’, trans., Behler, Diana I., in Stewart, Jon ed., Miscellaneous Writings of G.W.F. Hegel. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 354400.
Kierkegaard, Søren (1985), Philosophical Fragments. Johannes Climacus, or De omnibus dubitandum est, trans., Hong, Howard V. and Hong, Edna H.. Princeton: Princeton University Press
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Stewart, Jon (1998), ‘Hegel's View of Moral Conscience and Kierkegaard's Interpretation of Abraham,’ Kierkegaardiana, vol. 19: 5880.
Stewart, Jon (1999), ‘Kierkegaard and Hegel on Faith and Politics,’ Kierkegaardiana, vol. 20: 251–4.
Stewart, Jon (2003), Kierkegaard's Relations to Hegel Reconsidered. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Kierkegaard's Recurring Criticism of Hegel's ‘The Good and Conscience’

  • Jon Stewart (a1)

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