For Søren Kierkegaard, ‘How is it possible for one
become a disciple?’ was the fundamental question. The Philosophical
Fragments, first published in
1844 under the pseudonym of Johannes Climacus, propounds a hypothetical
metaphysical framework within which an answer to this question is
formulated. This framework is usually construed simply as a general account
of what must be the case if Christianity is true. But this has given rise
perplexity regarding how the Climacian framework is to be interpreted.
is the result of the failure to take into account the specific function
is meant to serve – namely, as the framework for ascertaining how
a disciple is a possibility. My present objective is not to pass any judgement
on the adequacy of this framework as a model purporting to represent reality.
Rather, I shall simply attempt a consistent elucidation of the framework
which Climacus presents; and in so doing, I indicate the way in which,
this framework, the question ‘How is it possible for one to become
a disciple?’ is to be answered – what I shall call
‘the Climacian answer’.
Part 1 of this article provides a basic account of the framework by
explaining its key concepts and their relationship to one another. I then
employ this account as the foundation for the thesis developed in Part
namely, that, for Climacus, faith is the condition of discipleship. In
conclusion, I outline the answer which, on my interpretation, Kierkegaard's
Climacian framework yields to the question ‘How is it possible for
become a disciple?’