2. Live or Tell

Daniel Berthold

in The Ethics of Authorship

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233946
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240432 | DOI:
2. Live or Tell

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The contrast between action and thinking entails a fundamental question about the ethics of authorship: How is one to use words, to write, in such a way as to act—and to elicit action from one's reader? This chapter suggests that a readjustment of the alignment of the kaleidoscope lenses that display the image of Kierkegaard' relation to Hegel allows for a more rewarding dialogue between the two. In the altered image, there is as much telling as living in Kierkegaard as in Hegel, and as much a choice for living in Hegel as in Kierkegaard. Perhaps most important, this reorientation invites us to see the either/or construction of “living or telling” as a false dilemma. As Roquentin discovers as Nausea reaches its enigmatic denouement, it is worth committing oneself to the idea that there is a way of writing in which existence becomes meaningful.

Keywords: Søren Kierkegaard; G. W. F. Hegel; action; thinking; authorship; ethics

Chapter.  9709 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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