Human Studies

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 475–480 | Cite as

Patrick Sheil: Kierkegaard and Levinas: The Subjunctive Mood

Ashgate, Surrey, England, 2010, xviii + 288 pp (hbk)
  • Adam Buben
Book Review

Patrick Sheil’s Kierkegaard and Levinas: The Subjunctive Moodis ostensibly a rather complicated comparison of the ideas and methods of the two titular thinkers. The primary underlying connection between Søren Kierkegaard and Emmanuel Levinas, on Sheil’s view, is their near-constant use of the subjunctive mood. Contrasting this grammatical mood with the “tell it like it is” sensibility of the indicative, Sheil reminds the reader that the subjunctive deals with “cases of uncertainty; phrases whose reference is possible, hypothetical, doubtful or desired” (p. 1). The book is divided into ten chapters, the first five of which deal with matters pertaining to “the consciousness of the individual,” while the last five are dedicated to the “relation to the Other” (p. 125). Aside from an expected tendency toward the general and introductory in the opening chapters, each subsequent chapter focuses on a different theme near and dear to the hearts of Kierkegaard and Levinas in an attempt to show...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Howard and Edna Hong Kierkegaard Library, St. Olaf CollegeNorthfieldUSA

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