Chapter

Taking Kierkegaard Apart: The <i>Concept of Irony</i>

Kevin Newmark

in Irony on Occasion

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780823240128
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240166 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823240128.003.0003
Taking Kierkegaard Apart: The Concept of Irony

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Kierkegaard's thesis on irony develops the paradox he inherits from Schlegel: how can irony, which is indirection itself, become compatible with philosophy, which responds to the imperative to speak directly about its own consciousness as well as whatever else it can know. A tentative solution is proposed when Kierkegaard, following Hegel, posits a historical model that distinguishes between irony in Socrates and irony after Fichte. If irony must be tolerated insofar as it inaugurates the history of subjectivity, it will have to be given up as soon as philosophical consciousness is able to stand on its own. Complications on the level of Kierkegaard's use of ironic language to construct his argument about existence as both “gift” and “task” affect not just the coherence of the philosophical and historical model of subjectivity adopted from Hegel; they also produce a far-reaching displacement of the religious model Kierkegaard will develop in its place.

Keywords: Kierkegaard; Concept of Irony; Socrates; Irony; Subjectivity; Consciousness; Thesis; Positing; Gift; Task; Giving-up

Chapter.  11331 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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