Kierkegaard's The Concept of Dread

Kierkegaard's The Concept of Dread

Kierkegaard's The Concept of Dread

Kierkegaard's The Concept of Dread

Excerpt

The reader will see at once that this book, in spite of its insistence that every science should be treated by itself, is by no means confined to the science of psychology. The long introduction deals with methodology and metaphysics. Here S. K.'s metaphysical position is stated only negatively, in opposition to Hegel and every school of Idealistic Philosophy. This was the first opportunity he found to deliver a broadside against the Hegelianism which was introduced into Denmark by Heiberg and Martensen. His positive position had already been suggested in the Fragments (or Tidbits). This metaphysical polemic is by no means unimportant, but we are hardly prepared for it by the title.

There is also in the first chapter more dogmatics than we might expect in a deliberation which proposes to lead us only to the borders of that science. Also there is more mythology than some of us (myself among them) may hanker after. For although S. K. denounced the disposition to treat the story of Adam and Eve as a myth, he nevertheless treats it pretty much as if it were, and is quite frank in rejecting at least the story of the serpent. There is too much about Adam for my taste, and perhaps too much about original sin, although it is very interesting that S. K. is the only modern man who has so profound a sense of the solidarity of the race that original sin makes any sense to him. I have remarked in my preface that there are arid passages in this book which are characterized by abstruse and oversubtle reasoning.

For all that, it was reasonable to describe this book on the title page as "a psychological deliberation," and in this is to be found its unique value. This work and The Sickness unto Death, the only books expressly described as psychological, though by no means the only ones in which this interest is prominent, are sufficient in themselves to insure to S. K. a prominent and peculiar place among psychologists. A very peculiar place indeed, for in his time, and still more in ours, even when it does not decline to admit that there is such a thing as a psyche, psychology has been content to remain so much on the surface that there is not much to distinguish it from histology, and even the so-called "deep psychology" of Freud and Jung and Adler does not delve deep enough to discover soul. S. K., because he was intent upon psychoanalyzing himself, his own ego, could not well forget that he was . . .

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