The Individual in Global Society

Course content

A study of the works of Copenhagen’s most radical author, the “father of existentialism,” Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Kierkegaard’s entire authorship is centered around the existential project that every human being is confronted with: to become oneself and none other than oneself. And as he sees it, becoming oneself does not happen passively and is never achieved once and for all, but requires constant effort. He thus often describes this project as one of taking responsibility for “choosing,” “gaining,” or “becoming oneself.”

This course examines his witty, humorous, but also deeply earnest exploration of the psychology of self identity. Kierkegaard’s thoughts about the struggle for personhood take us through perhaps unexpected territories: beginning with the breakdown of culture-specific ethnic and religious that have traditionally defined the self, he explores the culturally destructive power of Socrates’ irony, the art of seduction, theories of beauty and boredom, a scathing critique of religious culture and politics, religious demands that conflict with ethical duty, the joy of being embodied here and now, and finally, love.

We will remain especially attentive to the ways in which Kierkegaard’s thought is critical of inherited ethnic and cultural definitions of self, and why he nonetheless considers human relationships to be absolutely essential to understanding oneself and one’s obligations to other human beings.

 

For more information about course details click here:

http://teol.ku.dk/uddannelser/sommerkurser/

Either/Or, trans. Alastair Hannay, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1992.

Sickness unto Death, trans. Alastair Hannay, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1989.

   

Pdf material (linked to Absalon):

    Selections from On the Concept of Irony.

    “The Lily in the Field and the Bird of the Air” from Without Authority.

    Selections from Works of Love.

    Selections from The Moment.

     “Irony” in Oxford Handbook of Kierkegaard, ed. by John Lippitt and George Pattison,

      Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 

 

For students who read Danish:

Kierkegaards samlede værker, Søren Kierkegaards Skrifter (SKS), findes på nettet: www.sks.dk. I have provided references to SKS for every reading (e.g., Danish: SKS 4, 148-181) in this reading plan. (Note: To see page breaks, place a checkmark in the middle box, next to SKS, on the top left-hand side of the screen). 

 

Optional Secondary Literature:

Karsten Harries, Between Nihilism and Faith, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010 (177 pages).

George Pattison, The Philosophy of Kierkegaard, Chesham: Acumen Press, 2006 (205 pages).

ECTS
15 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Undergraduate requirements (bachelor students):

Requirement to pass the course for undergraduate students (bachelor students):
a) Familiarity with a reading list (primary and secondary literature) of 1,200-1,500 pages. b) Active class attendance (at least 75% attendance as documented in the attendance record) and the preparation of a written homework assignment, which is 24,000-28,800 characters, ie 10-12 pages, based on 400-500 pages of primary literature.

The assignment is assessed by the teacher according to the 7-point grading scale.

Graduate requirements (kandidat/master students):

Requirement to pass the course for graduate students (kandidat/master students):
a) Familiarity with a reading list (primary and secondary literature) of 1,200-1,500 pages. b) Active class attendance (at least 75% attendance as documented in the attendance record) and the preparation of a written homework assignment, which is 36,000-48,000 characters, ie 15-20 pages, based on 800-1,000 pages of literature.

The assignment is assessed by the teacher according to the 7-point grading scale.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale

Single subject courses (day)

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