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Kierkegaard, Schelling, and Hegel: How to Read the Spheres of Existence as Appropriate Knowledge


CHRISTOPHER LATIOLAIS, Chair Professor, Philosophy Department, Kalamazoo College. Specialties: twentieth-century continental philosophy, nineteenth-century German idealism, philosophy of language, philosophy of literature, philosophy of psychoanalysis. E-mail:


The central purposes of this article are twofold: (1) to give a brief sketch of contemporary scholarship on Kierkegaard's relation to Schelling and Hegel, clarifying, by discussing the famous Kantian and Kierkegaardian paradoxes, how the spheres of existence—aesthetic, ethical, and immanent religious—represent failed ways of appropriating or “knowing” oneself, and (2) to clarify Johann Climacus's distinction between “approximate” and “appropriate” knowledge by challenging Nathan Carson's interpretation as presented in this issue. The upshot is that the standard interpretation of the Kierkegaard/Hegel relation must be renegotiated in terms of the Kantian and the Kierkegaardian paradoxes regarding the source of normativity.