Kierkegaard and Hegel

Can the Kierkegaardian triad of Aesthetic, Ethical, and Religious be mapped out onto the triad of Skepticism, Stoicism, and Christianity in the “Unhappy Consciousness” section of Phenomenology of Spirit?

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One Response to “Kierkegaard and Hegel”

  1. cynic librarian Says:

    Ada, See Alastair Hannay’s definitive work on Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard (The Arguments of the Philosophers).
    Routledge; New Ed edition (December 1991)
    ISBN-10: 0415063655
    ISBN-13: 978-0415063654

    Hannay does “map” Kierkegaard’s work onto the unhappy consciousness. He doesn’t associate the Three Stages with Hegel’s, though. Skepticism would not be an instance of the Aesthetic per se and there are elements of Stoicism that would fit K’s Religiousness A (which forms part of the Religious stage).

    For Kierkegaard, skepticism is much more honest than Hegel gave it credit for, and he sees the skeptical as a first manifestation of existential choice. That is, the Greek skeptics realized that doubt was not a suspension of will but an assertion of will. This goes against Descartes’, Hegel’s and the Romantic’s understanding of doubt. There are several books on the closeness of K’s irony and Greek and Humean skepsis.

    In ternms of the aesthetic, K’s understanding fits quite closely with Hegel’s arguments against the Romantics. It forms the major part of his Doctoral thesis on Irony, though K’s later irony walks a thin tightrope on that issue since he wants to salvage as much of the aesthetic as he can for the later stages. That is, there are elements of the aesthetic that are taken up in the ethical, as well as the religious stages.


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