KIERKEGAARD, INDIRECT COMMUNICATION, AND AMBIGUITY

Authors


Abstract

Notoriously, Kierkegaard claims his project to be one of indirect communication. This paper considers the idea that Kierkegaard's distinction between direct and indirect communication is to be accounted for in terms of ambiguity. I begin by outlining the different claims Kierkegaard makes about his method, before examining the textual evidence for attributing such a distinction to him. I then turn to the work of Edward Mooney, who claims that the distinction between direct and indirect communication is to be drawn in just this way. I argue that Mooney misinterprets the type of ambiguity Kierkegaard holds to be involved in indirect communication, and consequently ends up with an unsatisfactory account of Kierkegaard's method. Finally I seek to cast doubt on the very idea that ambiguity might do justice to the claims Kierkegaard makes about his project, and suggest that what is required to do so is a theological interpretation of his work.

Kierkegaard, notoriously, claims his project to be one of indirect communication. This paper considers the idea that Kierkegaard's distinction between direct and indirect communication is to be drawn in terms of the difference between unequivocal and ambiguous language. I begin by outlining the different, and not obviously coherent, claims Kierkegaard makes about his method, before considering the textual evidence for attributing such a distinction to him. I go on to examine the work of Edward Mooney, who claims that the distinction between direct and indirect communication is to be drawn in just this way. I argue that Mooney misinterprets the type of ambiguity Kierkegaard holds to be involved in indirect communication, and ends up with an overly simplistic account of Kierkegaard's project. Finally I seek to cast doubt on the very idea that ambiguity might account for the claims Kierkegaard makes on behalf of his method, and suggest that what is required to do so is a theological interpretation of his project.

1. MAKING SENSE OF INDIRECT COMMUNICATION

Central to making sense of Kierkegaard and his contribution to Western thought, I hold, is coming to terms with his project of indirect communication. Kierkegaard scholars have, by their own admission, found the topic of indirect communication persistently problematic.1 The difficulty Kierkegaard's method presents, I claim, stems from the fact that he makes several apparently inconsistent claims about it. Examples of these claims as they figure in Kierkegaard's texts are as follows.

First, in distinguishing direct and indirect communication in terms of ‘subjective’ and ‘objective thinking’, and the notion of a ‘double-reflection’, Kierkegaard's pseudonym Johannes Climacus writes, ‘ordinary communication, objective thinking, has no secrets; only doubly reflected subjective thinking has secrets; that is, all its essential content is essentially a secret.’2 In commenting upon this passage Climacus further states that,

what has been said in a privy council is an accidental secret as long as it is not publicly known, because the statement itself can be understood directly as soon as it is made public … On the other hand, when Socrates, on account of his daimon, isolated himself from any and every relation and, for instance, posito [as a supposition] presumed that everyone had to do it in that way, such a life-view would essentially become a secret or an essential secret.3

The distinction drawn in this passage is between what is accidentally and what is essentially secret, or private, and so the claim is that what is indirectly communicated is essentially private.4

Second, Kierkegaard appears concerned to point out that a text or utterance's being an instance of indirect communication does not negate its having a determinable content. For example, in commenting upon a review of his earlier work Philosophical Fragments, a text Climacus explicitly holds to be a work of indirect communication,5 he claims that what the review misses out is

the contrast of form, the teasing resistance of the imaginary construction to the content, the inventive audacity (which even invents Christianity) … the indefatigable activity of irony, the parody of speculative thought in the entire plan, the satire in making efforts as if something ganz Auszerordentliches und zwar Neues [altogether extraordinary, that is, new] were to come of them, whereas what always emerges is old-fashioned orthodoxy in its rightful severity.6

Despite being a work of indirect communication Philosophical Fragments has a content, namely that of ‘old-fashioned orthodoxy’.

Third, Kierkegaard claims some sort of necessity on behalf of his project. For example, Climacus states that ‘[i]nwardness cannot be communicated directly, because expressing it directly is externality (orientated outwardly, not inwardly)’.7 Similarly, in regards to the notion of ‘the leap’ we are told that ‘[Jacobi] is not dialectically clear about the leap, that this cannot be expounded or communicated directly, precisely because the leap is an act of isolation, since it is left to the single individual to decide whether he will by virtue of the absurd accept in faith that which indeed cannot be thought.’8 In addition, Climacus writes of actuality, ‘[j]ust because his actuality is a matter of indifference to me, the learner, and conversely mine to him, it by no means follows that he himself dares to be indifferent to his own actuality. His communication must be marked by this, not directly, of course, for it cannot be communicated directly between man and man (since such a relation is the believer's paradoxical relation to the object of faith), and cannot be understood directly, but must be presented indirectly to be understood indirectly.’9 Such things cannot be directly communicated, only indirectly communicated.

This last claim appears in several different forms. For instance as one about the content of indirect communication, that is to say as a claim about what is communicated in an instance of indirect communication,10 as well as a claim about the vital function or effects of indirect communication. In terms of the latter it might be put: what can be achieved indirectly cannot be achieved by direct communication. For example, Climacus writes of Fragments,

[w]hether I was successful with this little pamphlet in placing Christianity indirectly into relation to what it means to exist, in bringing it through an indirect form in relation to a knowing reader, whose trouble perhaps is precisely that he is one who knows-this I shall not decide. It could not be done by direct communication, since this always pertains to a recipient only in terms of knowledge, not essentially to an existing person.11

Similarly, in The Point of View Kierkegaard claims: ‘an illusion can never be removed directly, and basically only indirectly. If it is an illusion that all are Christians, and if something is to be done, it must be done indirectly.’12 Kierkegaard's claim about the necessity of indirect communication is sometimes takes as a claim about the literary form of his work (as suggested above, by Climacus' criticism of the review of Philosophical Fragments),13 and sometimes as a claim about the method of his texts.14

We thus find three, not evidently consistent, claims about indirect communication in Kierkegaard's (or specifically Climacus') work: that indirect communication relates what is essentially private; that indirect communication has a determinate content; and that indirect communication is necessary to communicating some thing or performing some function (in terms of either literary form or method). One of the problems with reconciling these claims is that, as James Conant notes, if we take the first claim literally this would result in our being unable to count indirect communication an instance of communication at all.15 Moreover, if indirect communication has a determinable content one would think that it must admit of generality and be, at least in principle, public conceptual possession. The second claim therefore apparently contradicts the first, while the third adds a whole new level of complexity to the situation.

2. INDIRECT COMMUNICATION AND AMBIGUITY

In attempting to make sense of indirect communication Kierkegaard commentators have appealed to ambiguity. This might strike one as counter-intuitive on the grounds that ambiguity is generally regarded as an impediment to successful communication, rather than a special vehicle of it. Nevertheless certain commentators claim ambiguity to be a central, or definitive, feature of Kierkegaard's method. As far back as 1963 we find Raymond Anderson claiming that ‘Kierkegaard's basic technique for attaining indirection … is ambiguity.’16 More recently Vanessa Rumble states that ‘if a single characteristic can be cited as central to the practice [of indirect communication], it is the communicator's simultaneous presentation of opposing qualities … The text's artfully sustained ambiguity draws attention to the multiplicity of possible readings of a work and the reader's activity in appropriating it.’17 While most recently, with reference to Anti-Climacus' consideration of Christ's claim to be God, Genia Schönbaumsfeld tells us that ‘whatever such a person says will eo ipso be indirect communication and to that extent ambiguous.’18

Whilst not explicitly mentioning ambiguity, other commentators claim that indirect communication is to be understood in terms of certain uses of language, or literary devices, that are nonetheless ambiguous. For example, C. Stephen Evans,19 Steven Emmanuel,20 John Lippitt,21 and Jolita Pons22 all claim that irony and/or humour play a role within, or are definitive of, indirect communication. Furthermore, the thought that indirect communication is to be defined in terms of ambiguity, and has no fixed content, is celebrated by those commentators of a postmodern persuasion seeking to establish Kierkegaard as a forerunner of their own views about thought and discourse.23 The general idea appears to be that a text's being a work of indirect communication is to be identified with the fact that it is ambiguous, or minimally that ambiguity plays an important role in indirect communication. This idea, I think, can be taken as representative of the way in which many Kierkegaard scholars conceive of indirect communication.

3. KIERKEGAARD AND AMBIGUITY

Kierkegaard explicitly treats the subject of indirect communication in four places: the Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Lectures on the Dialectic of Ethical and Ethical-Religious Communication,24Practice in Christianity25 and The Point of View. Within these treatments, remarks on ambiguity can be said to figure most prominently in the Postscript and Practice, and it is these that I shall focus upon in what follows. I shall argue that the type of ambiguity Kierkegaard envisages as having a role to play in indirect communication concerns the communicator's intentions and convictions, not assigning communication a determinable content per se. Indeed, Kierkegaard can be said to be concerned to stress that something's being an instance of indirect communication does not foreclose its having a content.

One of the first places indirect communication receives explicit treatment in Kierkegaard's authorship is in the Postscript. The first place indirect communication makes an appearance in this text is in regards to Lessing's first ‘possible and actual thesis’, that ‘The subjective existing thinker is aware of the dialectic of communication.’26 Indirect communication is introduced in regards to Lessing because Climacus apparently regards Lessing as an exemplary indirect communicator.27 Specifically, Lessing is singled out by Climacus for his style of presentation. For, Climacus claims, Lessing is capable of presenting the religious, or Christianity, while leaving it mysterious as to whether he has accepted or rejected, defended or attacked it.28 In this respect Lessing's style is described as a ‘mixture of jest and earnestness that makes it impossible for a third person to know definitely which is which – unless the third person knows it by himself’.29

Climacus' deference for Lessing as a communicator stems from the fact that his words are thought to foreclose there being a basis on which a person can determine the spirit in which his words are intended. The point of this strategy being to prevent the recipient from forming a judgement on the basis of Lessing's views and convictions, but to encourage the recipient to engage with and think through the issues presented. Indirect communication, so conceived, consists in presenting an issue, ‘the religious’ or Christianity. Importantly, the ambiguity involved in this method concerns masking the communicator's own intentions and convictions, not occluding what is said having a determinable content per se. Indeed that indirect communication so conceived has a determinable content, that there is an issue presented, would appear to be a necessary condition of its functioning successfully.

A similar conception of ambiguity appears in relation to indirect communication in Practice, specifically in regards to Anti-Climacus' notion of indirect communication as a ‘sign of contradiction’.30 Indirect communication is presented by Anti-Climacus in the same terms as Climacus, as being comprised of a ‘combination of jest and earnestness’. In this Anti-Climacus is clear that if a spirit of jest or earnestness is completely dominant, such that the way in which what is said is to be taken is obvious, then we have an instance of direct communication. In contrast, if we have a subtle combination of jest and earnestness such that one cannot (at least provisionally) tell which the text is supposed to be, we have an instance of indirect communication. The mark of indirect communication is thus held to be the ambiguity of intention preventing the recipient from determining the spirit in which what is said is to be taken.

Anti-Climacus is concerned to point out that such a use of ambiguity does not entail that indirect communication has no determinable content. For, we are told that, in such a communication ‘the contradictory parts must not annul each other in such a way that the sign comes to mean nothing or in such a way that it becomes the opposite of a sign, an unconditional concealment’. Similarly, Anti-Cimacus warns that such a communication ‘must not be lunacy … because then there is no communication’.31 An indirect communication is not to contradict itself in such a way that it becomes ‘lunacy’, or nonsense, otherwise this forecloses it communicating anything at all.

Having considered those passages in which Kierkegaard explicitly links indirect communication and ambiguity, we can say that the type of ambiguity held to be involved concerns the communicator's convictions and intentions. In this Kierkegaard appears concerned to stress that such a use of ambiguity does not negate indirect communication having a determinable content. Indeed, should this be the case, it would challenge our being able to conceive of indirect communication as a case of communication at all.

4. MOONEY ON AMBIGUITY AND INDIRECT COMMUNICATION

This section considers what is perhaps the most fully worked-out attempt in the literature to account for indirect communication by appealing to ambiguity, found in the work of Edward Mooney. This idea is proposed by Mooney in his 1997 paper ‘Exemplars, Inwardness, and Belief: Kierkegaard on Indirect Communication’.32 This paper has recently been reworked as ‘Postscript: Possibilities Imparted: The Artistry of Intimate Connections’, Chapter Eleven of Mooney's 2007 book On Søren Kierkegaard: Dialogue, Polemics, Lost Intimacy, and Time.33 In considering Mooney's account, I shall argue that he appears to misconstrue the type of ambiguity held to play a role in indirect communication and, more importantly, fails to deal with the necessity Kierkegaard claims on behalf of his method.

In ‘Exemplars, Inwardness, and Belief’, Mooney claims that ‘[t]here is a categorical distinction between direct and indirect communication.’34 In apparent accord with this, he begins his account by attempting to pin direct communication down by appealing to unequivocal cases. For instance, we are told that

[i]n the obvious cases, transmitting or communicating straightforward beliefs that something is so is nonproblematic. I tell you it's raining in California or that my uncle has been incredibly rude. Unless you doubt my character, detect irony in my voice, or suspect that I have some devious end in mind, you will believe these things are so when I tell you. The transmission will be direct and uncomplicated by the need for interpretation or worries about unresolved ambiguities.35

In appealing to ‘the obvious cases’ Mooney states that it is characteristic of them that the idea to be communicated is ‘definite’ (i.e. unequivocal), ‘its content is immediately apparent’, and that in such instances ‘content passes from mind to mind without ruffling the feathers of subjectivity’.36 The distinction between direct and indirect communication is thought to be as follows. In a case of direct communication what is communicated can be immediately grasped by the recipient without the need for further reflection, whereas in a case of indirect communication ‘a recipient's capacity for interpretation, for grasping the appropriate sense and excluding inappropriate but conceivable senses is put to work’.37 Given this, the ambiguity Mooney envisages as playing a role in indirect communication appears to be closer to assigning a determinable content to communication per se. For indirect communication, so conceived, is thought to involve determining the sense of what is said, rather than resolving something about the communicator's convictions or intentions.

Mooney goes on to claim that ‘[t]he contrast between direct communication … and indirect communication … is context sensitive. For even ‘it's raining’ can involve my inwardness and elicit your subjective response.’ However, once this point is admitted into play it inevitably raises the question of how Mooney can hope to pin direct communication down by appeal to the obvious cases. The problem for Mooney being that the fact that any use of language is taken to be unequivocal will, surely, depend upon context. Moreover, we might also ask how Mooney can now hold the distinction between direct and indirect communication to be both categorical and context sensitive.

These latter two questions raise the worry of just how we are to distinguish the unequivocal from the ambiguous cases, and if we can, just how much gain this will afford us. Given Mooney's strategy of pinning down the unequivocal cases, what if, with more facts available, I begin to ‘doubt your character’ and ‘suspect that you have a devious end in mind’? In this case, will Mooney claim that what I took to be a past instance of direct communication becomes an instance of indirect communication. Moreover, it is unclear how Mooney's idea that the distinction between direct and indirect communication is context sensitive is supposed to apply to works of indirect communication. For, in reading one of Kierkegaard's texts, what is to play the role of the context determining whether or not the words I am reading count as unequivocal or ambiguous? To these difficult questions Mooney provides no answers.

Having proposed that the difference between direct and indirect communication is to be understood in terms of ambiguity, at one point in his paper Mooney appears to give up on this idea. This comes when he claims that ‘subjectivity can be awakened without such extreme measures, without vehicles that provoke or jolt us to awareness’ [i.e. without ambiguity]. For we are to believe that, ‘there are an indefinitely large number of vehicles’ of indirect communication, ‘none’ of which are ‘essential to the outcome’.38 In light of this claim Mooney gives the following example

[i]f I tell you that I have just become a grandfather, it's easy to imagine my commitments, my passions, close at hand. This simple transmission can evoke interpretations: you can begin to wonder what being a grandfather means to me. … My moral religious identity becomes engaged; a portion seeks and finds expression.39

For Mooney even this ‘simple’, direct, unequivocal, ‘transmission’, that he has ‘become a grandfather’, is said to be able to ‘evoke interpretations’. Strictly speaking, wondering what it means to Mooney to be a grandfather isn't interpreting his utterance, for its meaning need never come into question, but is rather simply indulging in the associations it provokes.

This example appears closer to the type of ambiguity Kierkegaard thinks of as playing a role in indirect communication, but there are problems. For instance it is difficult to envisage how, without more information, the simple statement of being a grandfather is to count as a morally or religiously contentious issue. Such worries aside, the important conceptual point is that if even this simple, unambiguous, ‘transmission’ can ‘evoke interpretations’, one might be concerned as to what is left in Mooney's account to distinguish direct and indirect communication at all. Rather than recognising this as a problem Mooney celebrates it, stating that ‘we can elaborate, and soften, Climacus's account by widening the scope of indirect communication to include cases where it is unobtrusive, where tensions between outer expression and inner import are largely invisible.’40 On the basis of his grandfather example, Mooney recommends that such cases ‘should stretch our sense of the domain of what Climacus calls ‘indirect communication’.’41 However, expanding the scope of indirect communication in this fashion ‘softens’ Mooney's account to the extent that it now includes all possible cases and rules out none.

Mooney seems prepared to embrace some of the unfavourable consequences of this move. In the conclusion of ‘Postscript: Possibilities Imparted’, we read

What seems to be direct communication from a sender's side of communication may be received as such; but it may, in some circumstances, evoke another's subjectivity in such a way that it functions, from the standpoint of the receiver, as an indirect transfer. An offhand apparently casual and indifferent aside may have soul-shattering effects: we are not in a position to predict, cause, or prevent decisive changes in another's subjectivity. And what we deliver from the trembling of a heart may be (mistakenly, tone-deafly) heard as simple information transfer.42

In this passage Mooney has apparently given up on accounting for the distinction between direct and indirect communication in terms of unequivocal and ambiguous language, and the difference has become merely arbitrary. For if indirect communication merely depends upon whether the recipient of communication finds what is said to be ambiguous then it might, in principle, apply to any use of language at all. On Mooney's interpretation, the scope of the term ‘indirect communication’ is thus expanded to vacuity: it can equally well be used in regards to Kierkegaard's carefully crafted literary-philosophical works, as it can to his or our writing anything at all. If this is how indirect communication is to be understood then there is neither anything intellectually exciting nor particularly interesting about it.

The main problem with Mooney's account is that it tacitly contravenes Kierkegaard's claim, outlined at the beginning of this paper, that indirect communication is a matter of necessity. The claim that what can be indirectly communicated cannot be communicated directly. For, as we have seen, Mooney is prepared to admit that unequivocal ‘direct’ language use can give rise to indirect communication. Pace Kierkegaard, in terms of Mooney's account what is indirectly communicable can also be relayed by means of direct communication. However, once this move is made Mooney cannot be held to be furnishing a satisfactory account of Kierkegaard's method. Mooney's distinction between direct and indirect communication not only faces insurmountable conceptual difficulties, but is exegetically inadequate.

Mooney concludes

[t]he life task of an ethicoreligious individual is to communicate an ethicoreligious identity, to express it in word and deed and life. Such an expression cannot be directly communicated for the simple reason that direct communication is communication that by definition leaves out the communicator's subjectivity. Attempting to communicate a decisive moral-religious core directly– that is, in disregard of that core – is attempting a logical impossibility.43

Having offered an interpretation in terms of which what is indirectly communicated is not a matter of necessity, Mooney nevertheless maintains that the direct communication of subjectivity is ‘a logical impossibility’. Yet, on what grounds is this conclusion reached? If we take it for granted that ‘direct communication is communication that by definition leaves out the communicator's subjectivity’ then of course Mooney's conclusion will follow, but this I hope will leave us unsatisfied. Without any reason to rule out that a direct communication can serve to express one's ‘ethicoreligious identity’, (as Mooney admits in the ‘simple transmission’ of his grandfather example: ‘[m]y moral religious identity becomes engaged; a portion seeks and finds expression’), Mooney cannot conclude that the ‘attempt to communicate a decisive moral-religious core directly … is a logical impossibility’.

5. INDIRECT COMMUNICATION AND AMBIGUITY RECONSIDERED

Mooney attempts to connect indirect communication with subjectivity, but cannot account for Kierkegaard's claim that what is communicated is essentially private. In addition, at times, Mooney appears to come dangerously close to denying that indirect communication has a determinable content. Similarly, despite offering us a conclusion based upon his having demonstrated otherwise, Mooney fails to account for the necessity Kierkegaard claims on behalf of his project. Instead, Mooney weakens the distinction between direct and indirect communication to the extent that it becomes no distinction at all: a tautological accompaniment of language use per se.

Given the failure of Mooney's account to deal with the claims Kierkegaard makes, one might fairly inquire about the prospect of the very idea that they might be satisfactorily addressed in terms of ambiguity. The problem, as the case of Mooney reveals, is with making a distinction between unequivocal and ambiguous language robust enough to ground an account of indirect communication. This is certainly the case once one admits into play the idea that any such distinction will be context sensitive. Furthermore if we take the idea that indirect communication is to be identified with ambiguity seriously, the third of Kierkegaard's claims becomes: there is a certain content or function that can only be communicated or performed by means of ambiguity. The problem with taking such a claim seriously, I think, is that within the context of Kierkegaard's work, (or even interpreted more generally), it is unclear just what this claim would amount to.

One of the puzzling things about Kierkegaard's remarks on indirect communication is the following feature. At times indirect communication is presented as functioning so as to try and prevent the recipient from making a judgement about what is said on the basis of the communicator's own convictions, while at other times it appears to depend upon a successful determination of them. I think that if ambiguity can be held to play a role in indirect communication it is in terms of the former, and that the latter is to be considered an unfortunate suggestion on Kierkegaard's part. Yet even an account restricted to the former, more modest, role, I maintain, will lack the conceptual and modal resources necessary to hold Kierkegaard's claims true.

Mooney's account might fairly be said to be in accord with the majority of treatments indirect communication has received at the hands of Kierkegaard commentators, in that it attempts to deal with the distinction between direct and indirect communication on the basis of what is true of human beings as such. Such naturalistic secular accounts can be found in the work of Tom Angier,44 James Conant,45 C. Stephen Evans,46 Alistair Hannay,47 John Lippitt,48 Peter J. Mehl,49 Stephen Mulhall,50 Genia Schönbaumsfeld51 and Michael Weston.52 I wish to close by suggesting that, contrary to this prevailing orthodoxy, what is needed to do justice to Kierkegaard's claims is a theological interpretation in which Christ figures as absolute and transcendent source of necessity.

Such a theological account of indirect communication can be sketched as follows. Kierkegaard's project consists in the clarification and presentation of Christ's words: the Christian message as it is passed down through history. The Christian message, so presented, has a determinable content (claim two). Yet Kierkegaard's aim is not merely to present the Christian message, but to draw out the absolute paradox that it was presented by Christ, who claimed to be God, and this with a view to getting his recipient to respond to Christ in faith. If the recipient responds in faith he is touched by God's grace, and reborn. The subsequent life of the Christian believer, for Kierkegaard, involves a personal relationship to Christ as divinity, and this relationship is held to be essentially first personal in that it cannot be accounted for in terms of general relations per se (and as such is essentially private to the individual) (claim one). Finally, outlining the absolutely paradoxical nature of Christ is held to be the only means to achieving this end. For Kierkegaard Christ is not accidental to one's having a relationship to God, but the unique and individual means by which one can do so. Only by employing such a method can Kierkegaard hope to get his recipient to life in Christ, and as such this method is necessary to Kierkegaard's end (claim three). In this way, I suggest, a theological interpretation is able to account for all three of the claims Kierkegaard makes about his project. Such an interpretation can hold Kierkegaard's claims consistently only in virtue of the role Christ plays within it, as separator and mediator of subject and object, and transcendental source of necessity. Only such an account, I suggest, has the resources necessary to do justice to Kierkegaard's claims, resources that Mooney's (and, I suggest, other naturalistic accounts) lack.

6. CONCLUSION

This paper has examined the idea that Kierkegaard's distinction between direct and indirect communication is to be accounted for in terms of ambiguity. I have argued that the type of ambiguity Kierkegaard links with indirect communication concerns the communicator's intentions or convictions, it is not an ambiguity of content per se. Against this background I have considered the work of Edward Mooney. Mooney apparently misconstrues the type of ambiguity Kierkegaard envisages as playing a role in his method, as well as running aground in attempting to account for the necessity Kierkegaard claims on its behalf. Finally, I have sought to draw into question the very idea that appealing to ambiguity might serve to furnish a satisfactory account of indirect communication. Rather, I have suggested that only an account in which Christ figures as transcendent divinity can do justice to the apparently contradictory claims Kierkegaard makes about his project. The details of that case must, however, await another occasion.

Footnotes

  1. 1 For instance, see C. Stephen Evans, Kierkegaard's Fragments and Postscript: The Religious Philosophy of Johannes Climacus (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1983), p. 111; and Alistair Hannay, ‘Kierkegaard's Philosophy of Mind’, Contemporary Philosophy: A New Survey 4, (1983) pp. 15783. For a survey of contemporary approaches to Kierkegaard's method see Jamie Turnbull, ‘Kierkegaard and Contemporary Philosophy’ in Roman Králik (ed.), Kierkegaard and Great Philosophers (Mexico City: Sociedad Iberoamericana de Estudios Kierkegaardianos, 2007) pp. 172–86.

  2. 2 Søren Kierkegaard, Hong and Hong (trans.), Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 79, emphasis mine.

  3. 3 ibid., pp. 79–80.

  4. 4 On this point see Merold Westphal, Becoming a Self: A Reading of Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript (West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1996), p. 62.

  5. 5 Kierkegaard, Concluding, p. 274.

  6. 6 ibid., p. 275, emphasis mine.

  7. 7 ibid., p. 260, emphasis mine.

  8. 8 ibid., p. 101, emphasis mine.

  9. 9 ibid., p. 325, emphasis mine.

  10. 10 ibid., p. 123, p. 220.

  11. 11 ibid., p. 274, emphasis mine.

  12. 12 Søren Kierkegaard, Hong and Hong (trans.), The Point of View (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998), p. 43, emphasis mine.

  13. 13 For example see Evans, Kierkegaard's Fragments, p. 5; Joakim Garff, Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), p. 336, p. 423; and James Conant, ‘Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, and Nonsense’ in Ted Cohen, Paul Guyer, and Hilary Putnam (eds.), Pursuits of Reason (Lubbock: Texas tech University Press, 1993), p. 195.

  14. 14 For instance see James Conant, ‘Putting Two and Two Together: Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, and the Point of View for Their Work as Authors’ in Timothy Tessin and Mario von der Ruhr (eds.), Philosophy and the Grammar of Religious Belief (London: Macmillan, 1995), p. 249.

  15. 15 ibid., p. 310.

  16. 16 Raymond Anderson, ‘Kierkegaard's Theory of Communication’, Speech Monographs 30 (1) (1963), p. 7.

  17. 17 Vanessa Rumble, ‘To Be as No-One: Kierkegaard and Climacus on the Art of Indirect Communication’, International Journal of Philosophical Studies 3 (2) (1995), p. 312, emphasis mine. See also Garff, Søren Kierkegaard, p. 229; Elin Fredsted, ‘On Semantic and Pragmatic Ambiguity’, Journal of Pragmatics 30 (5) (1998), p. 531; and Louis Pojman, The Logic of Subjectivity: Kierkegaard's Philosophy of Religion (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1984), p. 148.

  18. 18 Genia Schönbaumsfeld, A Confusion of the Spheres: Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein on Philosophy and Religion (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 30, emphasis mine.

  19. 19 Evans, Kierkegaard's Fragments, p. 105.

  20. 20 Steven, M. Emmanuel, Kierkegaard and the Concept of Revelation (New York: State University of New York Press, 1996), p. 141.

  21. 21 John Lippitt, Humour and Irony in Kierkegaard's Thought (London: Macmillan Press, 2000), p. 5.

  22. 22 Jolita Pons, Stealing A Gift: Kierkegaard's Pseudonyms and the Bible (New York: Fordham University Press, 2004), p. 92.

  23. 23 For a more detailed treatment of a postmodern approach to indirect communication see Turnbull, ‘Kierkegaard and Contemporary Philosophy, pp. 177–78.

  24. 24 Søren Kierkegaard, Journals and Papers (Vol. I.) (Indiana: Indiana University, 1967), pp. 267–308.

  25. 25 Søren Kierkegaard, Hong and Hong (trans.), Practice in Christianity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991).

  26. 26 Kierkegaard, Concluding, p. 72.

  27. 27 On this point see Westphal, Becoming a Self, p. 60.

  28. 28 Kierkegaard, Concluding, p. 65.

  29. 29 ibid., p. 69.

  30. 30 Kierkegaard, Practice, p. 125.

  31. 31 ibid.

  32. 32 Edward F. Mooney, ‘Exemplars, Inwardness, and Belief: Kierkegaard on Indirect Communication’ in Robert, L Perkins (ed.), International Kierkegaard Commentary: Concluding Unscientific Postscript (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1997), pp. 129–48.

  33. 33 Edward F. Mooney, On Søren Kierkegaard: Dialogue, Polemics, Lost Intimacy, and Time (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007).

  34. 34 Mooney, ‘Exemplars, Inwardness, and Belief’, p. 141.

  35. 35 ibid., pp. 132–33, emphasis mine.

  36. 36 ibid., p. 133, p. 137. Cf. Mooney, On Søren Kierkegaard, p. 206.

  37. 37 ibid., p. 133. Cf. Mooney, On Søren Kierkegaard, p. 214.

  38. 38 ibid., p. 138–39, emphasis mine.

  39. 39 ibid., p. 138, first and third emphasis mine. Cf. Mooney, On Søren Kierkegaard, p. 207.

  40. 40 ibid., emphasis mine.

  41. 41 Mooney, On Søren Kierkegaard, p. 208.

  42. 42 Mooney, On Søren Kierkegaard, p. 210.

  43. 43 Mooney, ‘Exemplars, Inwardness, and Belief’, p. 146, first and third emphasis mine. Cf. Mooney, On Søren Kierkegaard, pp. 213–14.

  44. 44 Tom P. S. Angier, Either Kierkegaard or Nietzsche: Moral Philosophy in a New Key (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), pp. 103–126. For more on Angier's book see Jamie Turnbull, ‘Review of Tom Angier, Either Kierkegaard or Nietzsche’ in Philosophy in Review 27 (2007), pp. 87–89.

  45. 45 Conant, ‘Putting Two and Two Together’.

  46. 46 Evans, Kierkegaard's Fragments, pp. 95–114.

  47. 47 Alistair Hannay, Kierkegaard (London: Routledge, 1982).

  48. 48 Lippitt, Irony and Humour, pp. 18–26.

  49. 49 Peter J. Mehl, Thinking Through Kierkegaard: Existential Identity in a Pluralistic World (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2005). For a more detailed treatment of Mehl's pragmatic approach to Kierkegaard's method see ‘Kierkegaard and Contemporary Philosophy’, pp. 178–80. Also Jamie Turnbull, ‘Review of Peter J. Mehl, Thinking Through Kierkegaard’ in The Review of Metaphysics 61 (2007), pp. 144–45.

  50. 50 Stephen Mulhall, Faith and Reason (London: Duckworth, 1994), pp. 29–35; and Inheritance and Originality: Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Kierkegaard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).

  51. 51 Schönbaumsfeld, A Confusion of the Spheres.

  52. 52 Michael Weston, Kierkegaard and Modern Continental Philosophy (London, Routledge, 1994).

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