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Subjective Thinking: Kierkegaard on Hegel's Socrates

  • Daniel Watts (a1)

Extract

One of the more surreal moments in Kierkegaard's journals involves a scene from the Underworld. Hegel has been reading Trendelenburg's Logical Investigations, and goes over to Socrates to complain. Alas, the conversation has trouble getting off the ground:

Socr.: Should we begin by being altogether in disagreement, or should we agree on something we could call a presupposition?…. What do you presuppose as your starting-point?

H.: Nothing at all.

Socr: That's quite something! So perhaps you don't start at all?

H.: I not start, I who have written 21 volumes?

Socr: Ye gods, what a hecatomb you have offered!

H.: But I start from nothing.

Socr.: Is that not something?

H.: No – on the contrary. That first makes its appearance in the conclusion of the whole, in the course of which I discuss science, world history etc.

Socr.: How might I be able to master this difficult task for many remarkable things may well be included which would show up my stupidity… You know that I did not even allow Polos to talk more than 5 minutes at a time, and you want to talk XXI volumes.

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References

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Subjective Thinking: Kierkegaard on Hegel's Socrates

  • Daniel Watts (a1)

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