The Failure of Self-Knowledge: Despair and the Limit of Reason in Kierkegaard's Philosophy
Ching, Yi Hin
Regarding the problem of self-knowledge in Kierkegaard’s philosophy, it is common to relate it to the discussion of despair in Anti-Climacus’s The Sickness Unto Death but not to the limit of reason in Climacus’s Philosophical Fragments. Indeed, it is possible to see both the limit of reason and despair as the failure of self-knowledge and how these two works complement each other in discussing such problem through the cases of Socrates. These two works share the view that the failure of self-knowledge is due to the misrelation between oneself and the divine. Moreover, an entry from Anti-Climacus puts himself and Climacus as a pair of dialectical twins who share the common concern on “how to be a genuine Christian”. So this dissertation aims to demonstrate the dialectical complementary relationship between Climacus’s Fragments and Anti-Climacus’s Sickness, by illustrating that paradoxical rationality (the mutual relationship between reason and paradox) is necessary to overcome the failure of self-knowledge. In addition, this dissertation suggests the potential in examining the dialectical reading between Climacus and Anti-Climacus that is commonly neglected among current studies.
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