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Kierkegaard: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Paperback]

By Patrick Gardiner (Author)
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Item description for Kierkegaard: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Patrick Gardiner...

Patrick Gardiner shows how Kierkegaard developed his views in emphatic opposition to prevailing opinions. Kierkegaard describes the enigmatic Dane's reaction to the ethical and religious theories of Kant and Hegel, and it also contrasts his position with doctrines advanced by thinkers like Feuerbach and Marx. Kierkegaard's seminal diagnosis of the human condition, which emphasizes the significance of individual choice, has arguably been his most striking philosophical legacy, particularly for the growth of existentialism. Both that and his arresting but paradoxical conception of religious belief are critically discussed, and Gardiner aptly concludes this lucid introduction by showing how Kierkegaard has influenced contemporary thought.

Publishers Description
Scholars have largely misunderstood Soren Kierkegaard, remembering him chiefly in connection with the development of existentialist philosophy in this century. In a short and unhappy life, he wrote many books and articles on literary, satirical, religious and psychological themes, but the diversity and idiosyncratic style of his writing have contributed to a misunderstanding of his ideas. In this book--the only introduction to the full range of Kierkegaard's thought--Patrick Gardiner demonstrates how Kierkegaard developed his ideas and examines his thoughts in light of the doctrines on society developed by his contemporaries Marx and Feuerbach. Finally, he assesses the profound importance of Kierkegaard's ideas on the development of modern ways of thinking.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages   132
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.02" Width: 4.54" Height: 0.4"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 16, 2002
Publisher   Oxford University Press
Series  Oxford Very Short Introductions  
ISBN  0192802569  
ISBN13  9780192802569  

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More About Patrick Gardiner

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Patrick Gardiner was formerly an Emeritus Professor of Magdalen College, Oxford

Patrick Gardiner has an academic affiliation as follows - Magdalen College, Oxford.

Patrick Gardiner has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Very Short Introductions

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > History & Surveys
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Modern

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Reviews - What do customers think about Kierkegaard: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)?

Disappointment  Apr 19, 2008
I bought this book because I wanted to read a book about KIERKEGAARD. Instead I got one that focuses as much as Hegel and Kart as it does on Kierkegaard. I would not recommend this book. This is a disappointment because I have several other books in this series, Islam, Judaism, Descartes, etc, and they are all very well written. This one strays fromt he true topic way too often.
The example of the authentic individual   Feb 16, 2005
Gardiner chooses to focus on Kierkegaard's difficulties and dilemnas in his own time. He tells the story of S.K.'s great renunciation of his Regina( The famous follow- up is his years later remark, " Had I had faith I would have married Regina") and speculates briefly on the motives. But there is tremendously more to be said about this including a question about Kierkegaard's real meaning for what he called ' his thorn in the flesh'. One logical but I agree not very pleasant speculation might have to do with S.K.'s sense of his own physical inadequacy given the terrible insults and sufferings he had been subject to because of his dwarfish physiognimy.
Gardiner outlines Kierkegaard's quarrel with the Church and his effort to define an authentic Christianity based on true inwardness. He also mentions the odd and ironic eulogy by Kierkegaard's older brother at his funeral where he on the one hand praises his brother's writing and on the other condemns him for the very crusade against false Christianity that S.K. dedicated himself to.
The description by Gardiner of Kierkegaard's first major work 'Either-Or' is excellent and he gives a deeper sense of the meaning of the ' aesthetic' and ' ethical ' for Kierkegaard. He too gives a good background to the revolt against Hegelianism, and shows how S.K. was not alone in this in his own time.
The great literary originality, the play between philosophy and literature, the invention of , and focusing on new religious categories are all parts of S.K.'s legacy to the world.
This book gives much, but only skims the surface of a thinker who with every reading is deeper and more complex and more ambiguous.
He is nonetheless for many in the world still , the example not only of the individual as authentic Christian, but the individual as authentic individual. .
Substandard Treatment of Kierkegaard  Oct 25, 2000
It is rather disappointing that professor Gardiner, who otherwise seems himself to be an astute and conscientious writer, so patently overlooks the essential character of Kierkegaard and Kierkegaard's struggle to exist in the "how" (not the "what") of the truth. Sadly, Gardiner seems to fall victim of becoming almost doctrinaire(!) about Kierkegaard -- quite an irony, esp. considering that SK anticipated such reconstructions by pedantic professors after he was long dead.

I do NOT recommend this book, for many reasons, but esp. since it vainly attempts to consider SK as a mere thinker, using the spurious canons of rational acceptability all too common among Anglophone philosophes who merely play with the truth -- and never dare to actually venture out and live it in their lives.

On the other hand, if you want to read Gardiner -- for Gardiner's sake -- and you wish to refine the game of reconstruction and dour pedantism, buy the book, by all means...

Kierkegaard: past and future master  Feb 18, 2000
I was introduced to the Great Dane by the sermons of a rigorous Presbyterian pastor, then lent a copy of Gardiner's book by a fellow Jewish student of Kaballah and comparative theology. When I later read Neil Johnson's 1982 the History of Lithium, it struck me, from Peter Gardiner's thoughtful analyses, how tragic it was that Soren died from his own obsessions just as he was reaching his peak, when lithium carbonate had been discovered in his own country and lifetime and- at the time of his death by apoplexy from raging against his Bishop - could have saved him from his manic depression. Not for nothing is he the father of both reformed modern western religion and psychology. The humanists, the secularists and the fanatics who followed him overlooked his eternal truths, the very manner of his tormented death, that, no matter your faith, ethics and personal conduct and responsibility matter above all(as eg Maimonides wrote before him in his commentary on the Mishnah Torah), and acceptance of a spiritual deity is a personal matter and transcending act of faith, never scientifically provable. He, we let the riddle of Abraham's dilemma(sacrificing his son) get at us at our peril.

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