The Kierkegaard Seminar

Course content

AUTUMN 2017: Fear and Trembling

This course will provide an opportunity for students to work with some of the basic themes in Kierkegaard’s authorship through a close reading of one of his central works, Fear and Trembling(1843). This work is one of Kierkegaard’s most dense works, comprising intense lyrical pages, a reworking of the biblical story of Abraham, complex reflections the relationship between ethics and religion, and perhaps most importantly a careful analysis of how to exist as an individual in terms of and against the norms of society. The course aims to provide students with a nuanced understanding of fundamental aspects of Kierkegaard’s thought (e.g. ethics, anxiety, the paradox, despair, faith, the absurd, and selfhood) through a close reading of this book. The systematic focus will be on the relation between individuality and society (autonomous existence and heteronomous norms), and on how to make sense of Kierkegaard’s Christian philosophy in a contemporary secular context.

Learning outcome

The close reading of this central work will provide the student with a solid introduction to Kierkegaard’s philosophy, and to his peculiar existential way of doing philosophy. The student will also be engaged with central questions in contemporary philosophy that have informed and shaped the way we approach and use Kierkegaard today. Moreover, since Kierkegaard’s thought is firmly rooted in a Christian foundation, the student will work with the issue of how understand and deal with religious arguments in a secular discussion. 

 

Teaching and learning methods

The sessions are structured as a combination of reading and discussion with a focus on engaging the student. The students are required to prepare one question or critical comment for each session. These questions will encourage and guide the discussion in class. The student can expect a lively and systematically oriented teacher who will attempt to make the issues both interesting and relevant to a contemporary setting while maintaining a substantial theoretical level and the necessary historical perspective.

Course ECTS credits 15

 

 

                                                            Please note: First lesson will take place 28 August 2017.

 

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SPRING 2018: Reading Concluding Unscientific Postscript

Content

This course will provide an opportunity for students to work with some of the basic themes in Kierkegaard’s authorship through a close reading of one of his central works, Concluding Unscientific Postscript. This book is a monumental work in terms of pages numbers, complexity, and the important role it plays in Kierkegaard’s authorship. Interpreters speak about a before and an after the Postscript, and it is commonly accepted that Kierkegaard’s thought went through a significant development in writing this book. The course aims to provide students with a nuanced understanding of fundamental aspects of Kierkegaard’s thought (e.g. existence, subjectivity, ethics, faith, irony, anxiety, despair, and humor) through a close reading of this book. The systematic focus will be on the notion of existence, and in particular on how to make sense of Kierkegaard’s Christian philosophy in a contemporary secular context.

Learning outcome

The close reading of this central work will provide the student with a solid introduction to Kierkegaard’s philosophy, and to his peculiar existential way of doing philosophy. The student will also be engaged with central questions in contemporary philosophy that have informed and shaped the way we approach and use Kierkegaard today. Moreover, since Kierkegaard’s thought is firmly rooted in a Christian foundation, the student will work with the issue of how understand and deal with religious arguments in a secular discussion.  

 

Teaching and learning methods

The sessions are structured as a combination of reading and discussion with a focus on engaging the student. The students are required to prepare one question or critical comment for each session. These questions will encourage and guide the discussion in class. The student can expect a lively and systematically oriented teacher who will attempt to make the issues both interesting and relevant to a contemporary setting while maintaining a substantial theoretical level and the necessary historical perspective.

 

Course ECTS credits 15

AUTUMN 2017: Fear and Trembling

1. Søren Kierkegaard. Fear and Trembling, trans. Alastair Hannay. London: Penguin Books 1985/ Søren Kierkegaard. Frygt og Bæven. København: GAD 1997 (for students capable of reading Danish).

2. Arne Grøn. The Concept of Anxiety in Kierkegaard. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press 2008.

3. Dan Conway (ed.). Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling: A Critical Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge. University Press 2015.

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SPRING 2018: Reading Concluding Unscientific Postscript

1. Søren Kierkegaard. Fear and Trembling, trans. Alastair Hannay. London: Penguin Books 1985/ Søren Kierkegaard. Frygt og Bæven. København: GAD 1997 (for students capable of reading Danish).

2. Arne Grøn. The Concept of Anxiety in Kierkegaard. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press 2008.

3. Rick Anthony Furtak (ed.). Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript: A Critical Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015.

ECTS
15 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28