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Chapter 3 - For What May the Aesthete Hope?

Focus and Standstill in “The Unhappiest One” and “Rotation of Crops”

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

In this chapter, we argue that a distinct concept of “aesthetic hope” emerges from the way Kierkegaard’s Aesthete treats hope [Haab] and its relationship to recollection [Erindring] in “The Unhappiest One” and “Rotation of Crops.” We first show that aesthetic hope is distinct from the two other kinds of hope discussed by Kierkegaard: temporal hope and eternal hope. We then consider the suggestion that aesthetic hope is also an expression of despair – an inverse hope against hope, which seeks to avoid disappointment by hoping for things that are in some sense certain. The aesthete’s recommendation that we hope in such a way illuminates Kierkegaard’s view of the “dialectic” of temporal hope and eternal hope. Finally, we explore the treatment of hope in Either/Or as essentially involving a controlled, attentional element that anticipates some contemporary trends in the philosophy of hope.

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Kierkegaard's Either/Or
A Critical Guide
, pp. 42 - 61
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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