July 26, 2018
Although people have established rules to secure their life and values, they seem to search—and to have searched, time and again, in the past—for exceptions to those rules, and this for different purposes. The article compares two concepts of exception, suggested by Kierkegaard in Fear and Trembling and by Garve in his Treatise on the Connection between Moral and Politics , respectively. A systematic-critical analysis shows certain intersections between their specific ways of handling the proposed exception. Garve’s concept of exception requires an original status naturalis between countries to increase happiness, and this is claimed by an established sovereign ruling with trust in God for his people. By contrast, the exception of Kierkegaard’s teleological suspension of the ethical turns out, precisely by being based on an individual’s relationship with God, to be incommensurable with purportedly universal social, ethical and political standards. This notwithstanding, both conceptions build on the notion of a human existence, which is subject to and ultimately dependent upon no one except the immortal God.