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Kierkegaard’s Apolitical Politics or How to Give the Emperor what Belongs to the Emperor, and God what Belongs to God

(Original title: Kierkegaardova apolitická politika aneb Jak odevzdat císařovo císařovi a Boží Bohu)
Filozofia, 71 (2016), 4, 270-281.
Type of work: Papers
Publication language: Czech

This paper deals with S. Kierkegaard as a political thinker from a viewpoint of consistency of his literary corpus. In the first section it analyzes the main aspects of the contemporary interest in Kierkegaard’s political philosophy and suggests that such interest might result in inappropriate expectations and interpretations. The second section deals with Kierkegaard’s authorship and offers a short overview of the works directly proving Kierkegaard’s continuous interest in politics. The third and fourth sections examine Kierkegaard’s criticism of politics and his main argument claiming that the plurality of qualitatively different spheres is being dissolved in the melting pot of politics. Kierkegaard’s rebuff of politics is to be read as a defense of the single individual and of the absolute relation to the absolute. Lastly, in the fifth section, the paper provides an interpretation of several controversial journal entries by Kierkegaard where he maintains that Christian existence is to be indifferent to the political and should not get involved in attempts at changing the world. Against some interprets who tried to mitigate the severity of such utterances, we argue that Kierkegaard understood Christianity as necessarily presupposing hardship and obstacles, whereas the over-amplified facility and ease of life leads to spiritlessness. This, as the paper suggests, is the reason why Kierkegaard refused to present positive political solutions to the socio-political problems of his time.


Christianity, Equality, Kierkegaard, Political philosophy, Politics, The single individual

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