Introduction: Kierkegaard, the Individual and Society

  • George Pattison
  • Steven Shakespeare


The essays collected here are a selection from among those delivered at the 1995 conference of the Søren Kierkegaard Society of the United Kingdom, entitled ‘Kierkegaard: Person and Polis after Modernism’. More sharply than the conference itself, the essays focus on issues relating to readings of Kierkegaard that go beyond the stereotype of Kierkegaard as the archetypical and apolitical individualist. There is, of course, a long history of debate as to the nature and extent of Kierkegaard’s social and political concerns and it therefore seems useful to preface the present volume with a summary of some of the main positions that have been taken in the course of this history of reception.


Critical Theory Social Ethic Political Thought Mass Society Marxist Critic 
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  2. 7.
    For a vigorous statement of a diametrically opposite interpretation of Kierkegaard, one which sees him as proclaiming a Christianity without the Church, see Bruce H. Kirmmse’s essay in this volume as well as comments on his Kierkegaard in Golden Age Denmark and on Kresten Nordentoft’s Hvad Siger Brand-Majoren? In his article ‘Tordenveiret: Søren Kierkegaards ekklesiologi’ (published in H. R. Iversen (ed.), Vinduer til Guds Rige [Copenhagen: Anis, 1995])Google Scholar
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    Ibid., pp. 264-6. In similar vein the Soviet philosopher Bernard Bukhovskii quotes a Harvard University Health Services report to the effect that ‘The great disease of our age is aimlessness, boredom and lack of meaning and purpose in living.’ Is it any wonder, he asks, that Kierkegaardian irrationalism should be so widely embraced in such a decadent capitalist culture? See B. Bukhovskii, ‘Kierkegaard’, in D. H. DeGrood (ed.), Philosophical Currents, Vol. 16 (Amsterdam: Grüner, 1976Google Scholar
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Pattison
  • Steven Shakespeare

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