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Chapter 8 - “Hidden Inwardness” and Humor: Kantian Ethics and Religion

from Part III - “Subjectivity, Inwardness, Is Truth”

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 January 2022

Roe Fremstedal
Affiliation:
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
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Summary

Chapter 8 reconstructs Kierkegaard’s ignored critique of consequentialism, a critique that is still relevant to ethics. It is argued that morality and religion require not only good intentions but also a good character. However, since moral character itself is not directly accessible, but only shown indirectly by words and deeds, Kierkegaard describes it in terms of hidden inwardness, which is only seen by God. Still, such inwardness neither entails a hidden, private domain nor “negative outwardness,” which “confines itself (in order not to be seen for what it is)” (Jack Mulder). Nor does it entail enclosing reserve (Indesluttethed), which is inwardness in deadlock. Instead, it represents an inwardness that strives to express itself in words and deeds. As a result, Kierkegaard’s moral psychology is more defensible and less problematic than often assumed.

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Chapter
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Kierkegaard on Self, Ethics, and Religion
Purity or Despair
, pp. 141 - 157
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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