PURE BEING AND EXISTENCE
Sören Kierkegaard, 1813-1855
AN EXAMINATION of existential ontologies, with a view to comparing them with the Christian doctrine of the being of God, properly begins with the man who has been commonly regarded as the "father of existentialism" -- Sören Kierkegaard. Whether a man who never married -- philosophically or otherwise -- should be blamed for such an offspring remains to be seen. But it must be admitted that when Kierkegaard demolished the Hegelian deity, he opened up new avenues to the knowledge of the divine being, and indirectly paved the way for the ontologies of contemporary existentialists.
It may seem strange to speak of Kierkegaard's ontology, as Michael Wyschogrod does in his excellent book Kierkegaard and Heidegger, The Ontology of Existence.1 For it has been generally supposed that Kierkegaard was not interested in ontology, nor in theology as such, nor even in a philosophy of existence, but in what it means to exist as an individual before God. Nevertheless the phrase "before God" is the clue that betrays Kierkegaard's implicit ontology, especially when one realizes the ontological way in which be defined God. It is certainly true that Kierkegaard never developed a metaphysical ontology, nor an ontology of existence. To do so would have been foreign to his whole purpose. The reason Kierkegaard does not concern himself directly with the problem of being is because he would have then be____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The Existentialists and God:Being and the Being of God in the Thought of Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Tillich, Etienne Gilson [And] Karl Barth. Contributors: Arthur C. Cochrane - Author. Publisher: Westminster Press. Place of publication: Philadelphia. Publication year: 1956. Page number: 23.
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