Kierkegaard's Either/Or

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Impenitent
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:32 pm

mhoraine wrote:Thanks Impenitent and duszek for your replies - is this the either/or that kierkegaard talks of ?

Hardness v softness of character ? and the destination...one step beyond madness ? Into unknown territory...in the attempt to impose order on the universe....?? You've lost me.

I'm not seeing the connection, please explain if you will ? I can now see how a discussion of Either/Or may branch off into all kinds of realms. Could be infinitely distracting, fascinatingly fulfilling or horridly confusing. How best to proceed ?

M.
Hardness v softness of character is a question for the artist...

Ones state of mind is ones own business...

Madness is a question for Suggs

the attempt to impose order on the universe is fine... be careful that you don't assume the role of Sisyphus in doing so...

-Imp

mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:33 pm

So I look up Suggs and he is far from the madness crowd...in Italy. Right back where I started from.
Ain't this fun ? Another man's journey...in a mini.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel ... 980524.ece

you know I could question whether my madness is my own madness and nobody else's business. Trouble is if I had a gun and shot a crowd of innocent people for the lack of understanding Either/Or.......

Impenitent
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:38 pm

mhoraine wrote:So I look up Suggs and he is far from the madness crowd...in Italy. Right back where I started from.
Ain't this fun ? Another man's journey...in a mini.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel ... 980524.ece

you know I could question whether my madness is my own madness and nobody else's business. Trouble is if I had a gun and shot a crowd of innocent people for the lack of understanding Either/Or.......
far from madness does not necessitate sanity...

innocence is no excuse...

you don't have to suffer madness to shoot up a crowd of people...

do you have to suffer madness to be in the crowd unarmed?

understanding that which is understandable is problem enough at times...

-Imp

mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:03 pm

Impenitent : understanding that which is understandable is problem enough at times...

Yes indeed.
OK, I've sploshed right into the Immediate Erotic stages, p 62 of my 2004 Penguin copy, translation and intro by Alastair Hannay.

So, what is this 'eroticism' of which Kierkegaard talks ?

Kierkegaard : I am like a young girl in love with Mozart...I shall beg Mozart to forgive me because his music did not inspire me to great deeds but made a fool of me - I, who through him lost the last grain of reason I possessed, and now spend most of my time in quiet sadness humming what I do not understand, haunting like a ghost what I cannot enter into. Immortal Mozart ! ...the reason I did not go through life without there being something that could make me tremble...

* ho-hums * ...and thinks, ' Read the intro first mho !! '

mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:47 am

My copy is abridged - only 633 pp and my comments here are from the Intro : pp 1-21

Have to say I smiled when I read that Kierkegaard ( K ) offers choices and temptations - particularly in interpretation. The first one being ' Must I really read the whole thing ?' - ie 2 volumes, Pt 1 = Either ( the aesthetic view of life) and Pt 2 = Or ( the ethicist ).

Other Q's : how distinct are they ; must we choose one or the other ; if we don't then have we missed something, or is something missing in us.

Confusion is likely given that K conceals himself - distancing and disowning authorship.
Pt 1 - author A uses a diary of a third author
Pt 2 - author B contains a sermon of a 4th.
The work itself has a fictitious author and Preface

On Authority :
So, what position does K hold ? None ? He 'scrambles' the author-reader link so that the words can be considered ' in themselves'. There is an interesting note : K says that for someone ready to learn it doesn't matter whether he is spoken to by ' a Balaam's ass or a guffawing crosspatch or an apostle or an angel '. ( cf Numbers 22-24 ). ( p7 )

Special Purpose :
to ' exhibit the existential relationship between the aesthetic and the ethical in an existing individual '.
The motive to remind people ' what it means to exist and what inwardness signifies'. This has been forgotten due to the great increase in knowledge, a reference to Hegel's system of thought. ( p 10 )

Either/Or is a Reminder of the Q : ' What is it essentially to be a human being ?'

Ways to 'choose' :
1. to be persuaded by Reason - no inwardness but ' paragraph-ploughing'.
2. to be convinced because you are already attuned but just didn't see the points clearly
3. the choice of oneself - no passiviity or imaginative manipulation (p13 )

The 'Choice of Oneself' , a freedom to 'stake out one's own future according to a view of life ' and that this view is 'revealed' in social context ie marriage and work - responsibilities - public morality. A redefining of values. ( p14 )

Marriage and work - ways to a fulfilled life, rather than as expedients ?
K does not seem to have 'revealed' himself in this way - having broken off his engagement, a death-bed regret.

So, Either/Or - the finite life of lust v the world of spirit where life, generally led, is seen as trivial ?

However, the aesthetic view of life is not spiritless. It has imagination and it is this imagination which can lead us to think and reason ?

So much for the intro - it seems like Either/Or can be read in a way that suits the reader - we can ask questions as to what K intends - to persuade to a certain view - to decide what view, if any, we accept/reject for ourselves - or simply read it as someone ready to learn but not too concerned if something is missed ?

M.

Impenitent
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:50 am

yes, he raises arguments for each but leaves the choice to the reader...

something is missed if it is not observed... and as far as K's intent, that can never be completely known...

but nothing is missed if it is noticed or discussed

one may read for guidance

one may read for pleasure

either/or ... maybe bits of each?

-Imp

mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:31 am

Guidance'n'Pleasure'n'Choice sounds good to me.

I don't have time to read K today. However, next in my book is The Preface to Part 1 - pp 27 - 37.
It opens with :
' Perhaps it has sometimes occurred to you, dear reader, to doubt the correctness of the familiar philosophical proposition that the outward is the inward, the inward the outward ? '
{ note 2 : see Hegel's Logic, tr. William Wallace....}

Well, I can't see Hegel's Logic.
So can anyone help out ?

M.

Impenitent
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:39 pm

mhoraine wrote:Guidance'n'Pleasure'n'Choice sounds good to me.

I don't have time to read K today. However, next in my book is The Preface to Part 1 - pp 27 - 37.
It opens with :
' Perhaps it has sometimes occurred to you, dear reader, to doubt the correctness of the familiar philosophical proposition that the outward is the inward, the inward the outward ? '
{ note 2 : see Hegel's Logic, tr. William Wallace....}

Well, I can't see Hegel's Logic.
So can anyone help out ?

M.
it's a starting point (it's also a little jab at Descartes)

basically:

"For absolute idealist Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, "being" coincides with "thought," because the subject matter of philosophy is the life of the Absolute Spirit, self-thinking Thought, as manifested panentheistically in the universe. The Absolute Spirit manifests itself in the universe by going out of itself and returning to itself. This life of the Absolute Spirit has three main phases: itself, nature, and the human spirit; and they are dealt with by logic, the philosophy of nature, and the philosophy of spirit, respectively. Thus, logic deals with how the Absolute Spirit conceives of itself before the creation of the universe. Logic begins with "being" (Sein), which is the most immediate and indeterminate concept the Absolute Spirit can formulate about itself. But, being is so completely indeterminate that it passes over into "non-being" or "nothing" (Nichts), its negation, which is also completely indeterminate. Non-being also easily moves back to being. So, a third category, "becoming" (Werden), is posited, which is the synthesis, at a higher level, of being as thesis and non-being as antithesis. While being and non-being are wholly indeterminate abstractions, becoming is "the first concrete thought,"[6] thus being able to become "determinate being" (Dasein), which is a definite being. Although notions such as being "in itself" (an sich), being "for itself" (für sich), and being "in and for itself" (an und für sich) are also developed from determinate being, the original dialectic of being, non-being, and becoming is the starting point of the whole dialectic life of the Absolute Spirit that involves all other senses of being through the triads of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis at various phases and sub-phases."

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Being

-Imp

mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:20 am

Yes, Impenitent, it's a starting point...and one that had the effect of stopping me in my tracks. Thanks for some guidance and the link. A useful but tricky overview.

My immediate thought had been one of despair ! Don't tell me I'm gonna have to read Hegel before I even get started...and then that would no doubt lead back to another chain of thought.

However, my intention is to try and interpret K's words ' in themselves', no matter the 'author', and see what transpires. Not particularly looking to plough' each paragraph, far less every sentence or word. However this 'starting point' trapped my brain cell.

' Perhaps it has sometimes occurred to you, dear reader, to doubt the correctness of the familiar philosophical proposition that the outward is the inward, the inward the outward ? '

Perhaps, or perhaps not.....depending on type and level of reader.
' it...occurred to you...to doubt ' -
So, there is the something happening to someone - perhaps a 'passive' interjection like a first morning unbidden thought ; also an 'active' doubting, a questioning and analysis, trying to find the answer that convinces you ?

Hmmm, if he thinks that the reader is familar with philosophical proposition, then is he assuming the reader's knowledge of academic philosophy eg the views of Descartes and Hegel ? { Who would be reading this book at that time ? }

Or simply that people might think intuitively that ' the outward' - the body and the world ( the material ) is not the same as the 'inward' - the inner self/spirit ( the immaterial ). For example, the feeling ( shock ? ) that you get when you catch sight of yourself in the mirror. That's not me !

Would this be the jab at Descartes ? Descartes' cogito ' I think therefore I am' - already presupposes an ' I '.
We already must exist before we can think it. So existence is necessary - we must 'be' first. If we are not 'being' then we are nothing.
And K is against Hegel because, like Descartes, his system is based on cognitive activity alone ?

M.

Impenitent
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:11 pm

mhoraine wrote:Yes, Impenitent, it's a starting point...and one that had the effect of stopping me in my tracks. Thanks for some guidance and the link. A useful but tricky overview.

My immediate thought had been one of despair ! Don't tell me I'm gonna have to read Hegel before I even get started...and then that would no doubt lead back to another chain of thought.

However, my intention is to try and interpret K's words ' in themselves', no matter the 'author', and see what transpires. Not particularly looking to plough' each paragraph, far less every sentence or word. However this 'starting point' trapped my brain cell.

' Perhaps it has sometimes occurred to you, dear reader, to doubt the correctness of the familiar philosophical proposition that the outward is the inward, the inward the outward ? '

Perhaps, or perhaps not.....depending on type and level of reader.
' it...occurred to you...to doubt ' -
So, there is the something happening to someone - perhaps a 'passive' interjection like a first morning unbidden thought ; also an 'active' doubting, a questioning and analysis, trying to find the answer that convinces you ?

Hmmm, if he thinks that the reader is familar with philosophical proposition, then is he assuming the reader's knowledge of academic philosophy eg the views of Descartes and Hegel ? { Who would be reading this book at that time ? }



philosophers generally are familiar with philosophers that went before and are arguing against them



Or simply that people might think intuitively that ' the outward' - the body and the world ( the material ) is not the same as the 'inward' - the inner self/spirit ( the immaterial ). For example, the feeling ( shock ? ) that you get when you catch sight of yourself in the mirror. That's not me !

Would this be the jab at Descartes ? Descartes' cogito ' I think therefore I am' - already presupposes an ' I '.
We already must exist before we can think it. So existence is necessary - we must 'be' first. If we are not 'being' then we are nothing.
And K is against Hegel because, like Descartes, his system is based on cognitive activity alone ?

M.
Descartes began his philosophy by assuming radical doubt (not really, but he claimed to doubt everything.)

From his doubt the one thing he couldn't doubt was the fact that he was doubting hence the cogito

(he still could have doubted that it was he who doubted if he really wanted to doubt but I digress...)

K tries not to be strictly an idealist (K is infected with the spirit of Kant in that regard)

-Imp

mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:12 pm

OK, this is a quick and probably incoherent reply - I'm tired. Nothing new.

1st - your comment :
'....philosophers generally are familiar with philosophers that went before and are arguing against them....'

stuck right in the middle of my Either/Or - my attempt to work out if K's main audience consisted of academic philosophers -who would, as you suggest, be familiar with propositions and systematic logical abstract arguments - OR - the lay person with a belief system ( philosophy ) built on common-sense perceptions and attitudes ( I believe that...)
Arguably, the first type of proposition - the starting point ?

Next, Descartes - my memory is rusty but didn't his doubt process ( and potential inifinite regress ) stop at his belief in God. His distinct and clear perception was real and true because God would not deceive him ?

Your last sentence I will have to think about, but already I digress...

M.

Impenitent
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:36 pm

mhoraine wrote:OK, this is a quick and probably incoherent reply - I'm tired. Nothing new.

1st - your comment :
'....philosophers generally are familiar with philosophers that went before and are arguing against them....'

stuck right in the middle of my Either/Or - my attempt to work out if K's main audience consisted of academic philosophers -who would, as you suggest, be familiar with propositions and systematic logical abstract arguments - OR - the lay person with a belief system ( philosophy ) built on common-sense perceptions and attitudes ( I believe that...)
Arguably, the first type of proposition - the starting point ?


keep in mind when he wrote- life was hard and fast then... not everyone was educated or could read... no mass media...


Next, Descartes - my memory is rusty but didn't his doubt process ( and potential inifinite regress ) stop at his belief in God. His distinct and clear perception was real and true because God would not deceive him ?

yes, and that's the cheat. he never doubted god so his "radical doubt" wasn't so doubtful...

K is giving his reader a choice



Your last sentence I will have to think about, but already I digress...

M.
Kant tries to be an idealist and an empiricist - a priori synthetic propositions (which I don't find agreeable, but that's a different ball of wax)

-Imp

mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:19 am

As to the readers of Either/Or and mass media/ communication.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Either/Or

Early reception :
Either/Or established Kierkegaard's reputation as a respected author.[26] Henriette Wulff, in a letter to Hans Christian Andersen, wrote, "Recently a book was published here with the title Either/Or! It is supposed to be quite strange, the first part full of Don Juanism, skepticism, et cetera, and the second part toned down and conciliating, ending with a sermon that is said to be quite excellent. The whole book attracted much attention. It has not yet been discussed publicly by anyone, but it surely will be. It is actually supposed to be by a Kierkegaard who has adopted a pseudonym.

{ Gotta love the ' a Kierkegaard ' }

and currently : a very readable on-line Commentary on K by Dr Anthony Storm :
Here you will find info on K's second period : Indirect Communication 1843 - 46
http://sorenkierkegaard.org/either-or.html

However, there is information on every published work and article (including many unfinished writings and journal entries) with publication data, quotes, detailed commentary, and images. A good place to start is to go straight to the Commentary itself where you can view abstracts of the works before diving in.

Seems that Either/Or is a plan within a plan, within a plan......

but enough of putting it in context, I am eager to read on....but other duties beckon. It's a hard life for some :)
Where are you AS et al ???!!!!! I'm beginning to feel like a goldfish. Swim little fish, swim on....

artisticsolution
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by artisticsolution » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:39 pm

Hi M,

Sorry M. I had to order my copy of either or...it should be here soon. I did look it up on wikipedia. I wonder if there is a a cool series of podcast lectures like the ones rotabend posted for fear and trembling. Did you listen to those M?

http://webcast.berkeley.edu/course_deta ... 1906978306

Impenitent
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:34 pm

thanks for the lecture links...

-Imp

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