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Chapter 7 - Failed Temporalities in Either/Or

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 November 2023

Ryan S. Kemp
Affiliation:
Wheaton College, Illinois
Walter Wietzke
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, River Falls
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Summary

Time, and how we relate to it, is a persistent theme throughout Kierkegaard’s writings. Particularly striking is the way in which Kierkegaard depicts various pathologies of temporal experience, showing how various strategies for dealing with time are ultimately self-defeating. Either/Or is perhaps the single best example of a text in which Kierkegaard problematizes time and our responses to it. The book is famously presented as staging a clash between two views of life, the aesthetic and the ethical. But it can also be understood as presenting and critiquing two different ways of relating to time: one that tries to evade the responsibility entailed by living in time and one that tries to anchor itself in an eternity that is ultimately a denial of finitude. The text suggests both approaches to time are doomed, and that a different, specifically religious relation to time is required.

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Kierkegaard's Either/Or
A Critical Guide
, pp. 116 - 134
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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