Download Aparte: Conceptions and Deaths of Soren Kierkegaard by Sylviane Agacinski PDF

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By Sylviane Agacinski

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Extra info for Aparte: Conceptions and Deaths of Soren Kierkegaard (Kierkegaard and postmodernism)

Example text

The appearance of subjectivity, clearly marked in the making visible of Napoleon's head, thus comes to be linked metaphorically not only with the initial subjective negativity that is traditionally associated with Socratic irony but also with the possibility of mastering this irony retrospectively through an act of understanding: ''Napoleon himself suddenly appears out of the nothingness. It is the same with Socrates' replies. As one sees the trees, so one hears his discourse; as the trees are trees, so his words mean exactly what they sound like.

To some extent, then, the actual figures of the "poet" Page 10 and the "man of faith" are contingent; they are there only by reason of their asymmetrical relation to one another, which can as a consequence become illustrative of the more far-reaching philosophical problem of truth. They are merely different sides of the same (linguistic) coin of indirect communication, which can say what it means (religious truth) only by not saying it, that is, by saying it in a form that is not immediately recognizable as what it is (poetic language).

However, the disparity that appears in Hegel between Socrates' Page 12 "too little" subjectivity and the romantics' "too much" subjectivity remains a problem only as long as our perspective fails to include the mediating moments of a diachronic movement. Once the ironic point of view has been isolated and limited to being part of a larger historical process, it ceases to be threatening for a dialectic of mediated negativity. Socrates did not yet know that the negativity of his subjectivity would become part of a larger development and history, while the romantics have somehow already forgotten that the negativity of their subjectivity is only part of a history.

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