Download A Confusion of the Spheres: Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein on by Genia Schönbaumsfeld PDF

By Genia Schönbaumsfeld

Cursory allusions to the relation among Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein are universal within the philosophical literature, yet there was little within the means of great and entire observation at the courting in their principles. Genia Schönbaumsfeld closes this hole and gives new readings of Kierkegaard's and Wittgenstein's conceptions of philosophy and spiritual belief.

Chapter one files Kierkegaard's effect on Wittgenstein, whereas chapters and 3 supply trenchant criticisms of 2 well-liked makes an attempt to match the 2 thinkers, these via D. Z. Phillips and James Conant. In bankruptcy 4, Schönbaumsfeld develops Kierkegaard's and Wittgenstein's concerted criticisms of the "spaceship view" of faith and defends it opposed to the typical fees of "fideism" and "irrationalism".

As good as contributing to modern debate approximately how one can learn Kierkegaard's and Wittgenstein's paintings, A Confusion of the Spheres addresses matters which not just crisis students of Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard, yet a person drawn to the philosophy of faith, or the moral points of philosophical perform as such.

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Additional resources for A Confusion of the Spheres: Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein on Philosophy and Religion

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He clearly did not regard him as simply a philosopher, but as a kind of moral and religious ‘paradigm’ against which he had to measure himself, often, according to Wittgenstein himself, to his own detriment, for, after all, as Wittgenstein said to Drury, Kierkegaard was ‘a saint’. This comes out even more strongly in an earlier journal entry from 1922 which has recently been found between scraps of paper in the Brenner Archives in Innsbruck. In it Wittgenstein recounts the following experience: I suddenly felt my complete nothingness and saw that God could demand of me what He wills on the condition that my life would immediately become meaningless if I didn’t obey .

In this respect, Wittgenstein’s and Kierkegaard’s conception of philosophy is radically anti-metaphysical and anti-foundationalist. Neither philosopher believes that metaphysics can deliver on its promises and supply a presuppositionless vantage-point from which we can view the world. Indeed, Wittgenstein regards the very idea of such a vantagepoint as fundamentally incoherent; and while Kierkegaard does not go as far as exposing the nonsensicality of such a ‘view from nowhere’ in his authorship, his conception, for all practical purposes, comes down to the same: to view the world sub specie aeternitatis is impossible for an existing individual and every attempt to do so becomes, in the end, comical: It is from this side [from the side of existence] that an objection must first be made to modern speculative thought, that it has not a false presupposition but a comic presupposition, occasioned by its having forgotten in a kind of world-historical absentmindedness what it means to be a human being, not what it means to be a human being in general, for even speculators might be swayed to consider that sort of thing, but what it means that we, you and I and he, are human beings, each one on his own.

In Licht und Schatten, ed. Ilse Somavilla (Innsbruck: Haymon, 2004), translation mine. I am grateful to Allan Janik for drawing my attention to this passage. Kierkegaard’s Influence on Wittgenstein’s Thought 27 the task is to comprehend that a person is nothing at all before God or to be nothing at all and thereby to be before God, and he continually insists upon having his incapability before him, and its disappearance is the disappearance of religiousness’ (CUP 461). Although the diaries give the impression that Wittgenstein was generally in agreement with Kierkegaard’s conception of things, there are two passages—one from 1931, the other from 1937—where Wittgenstein doesn’t seem entirely to share Kierkegaard’s vision.

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