• Kierkegaardian intersubjectivity and the question of ethics and responsibility

      Krumrei, Kevin.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      Kierkegaardian Intersubjectivity and the Question of Ethics and Responsibility By Kevin Krumrei. Kierkegaard's contributions to philosophy are generally admitted and recognized as valuable in the history of Western philosophy, both as one of the great anti-Hegelians, as the founder (arguably) of existentialism, and as a religious thinker. However valid this may be, there is similarly a generally admitted critique of Kierkegaard in the Western tradition, that Kierkegaard's philosophy of the development of the self leads the individual into an isolated encounter with God, to the abandonment of the social context. In other words, a Kierkegaardian theory of intersubjectivity is a contradiction in terms. This is voiced eloquently by Emmanuel Levinas, among others. However, Levinas' own intersubjective ethics bears a striking resemblance to Kierkegaard's, with respect to the description and formulation of the basic problem for ethics: the problem of aesthetic egoism. Further, both Kierkegaard and Levinas follow similar paths in responding to the problem, from Kierkegaard's reduplication in Works of Love, to Levinas' notion of substitution in Otherwise than Being. In this comparison, it becomes evident that Levinas' reading of Kierkegaard is mistaken, for Kierkegaard's intersubjective ethics postulates, in fact, the inseparability and necessity of the self s responsible relation to others in the self s relation to God, found in the command, "you shall love your neighbour as yourself."