Kierkegaard's contribution to the philosophy of history

Patios, Georgios
Kierkegaard's contribution to the philosophy of history. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Kierkegaard is well known as a witty writer mainly occupied with Christianity. In this thesis however, Kierkegaard is depicted as a philosopher who can provide us with some new and authentic ideas about the nature of history. Kierkegaard’s approach to the problem of history is compared with Hegel’s philosophy of history and Heidegger’s view of history. Hegel’s philosophy of history is examined and analysed first and the conclusion is that we can clearly detect two main Hegelian assertions regarding history: first that reason is the main historical agent and second that human beings can fully know their past history. Kierkegaard’s arguments follow a totally different approach from that of Hegel’s. Kierkegaard argues that we cannot fully know our past history and that the crucial element in history is to decide about our future history instead of simply trying to understand our past history. It is also argued that Kierkegaard constructs human self in such a way that human beings must simultaneously create themselves and history by making decisions regarding their present and their future. It is further argued that neither Hegel nor Kierkegaard can, on their own, provide us with a total and full picture of the nature of history because Hegel on the one hand, focuses on the macroscopic view of history and Kierkegaard on the other, on the microscopic view (that is, from the point of view of the individual). This is why a possible synthesis of both views is suggested as a better way to truly understand history. Heidegger’s view of history is examined as a possible ‘existential’ alternative approach to history from that of Kierkegaard’s. The conclusion is that Heidegger cannot really offer us any help because he is either borrowing his main concepts from Kierkegaard or he is too vague.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Additional Information: Date: 2012-07 (completed)
Subjects: ?? B1 ??
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2013 10:45
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 04:37
DOI: 10.17638/00008213
  • Whistler, Daniel