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Despair as Defiance: Kierkegaard’s Definitions in “The Sickness unto Death”

Alastair Hannay
Published Online: 2018-05-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2018-0004


How are we to read and how translate the brief formulae with which ‟The Sickness unto Death” introduces two forms of ‛authentic despair’? In response to Michael Theunissen’s claim that, to conform with the actual drift of Kierkegaard’s thought, the first of the two forms of despair should be given priority, an alternative reading that conforms with the published ordering is defended on the strength of both the text itself and the development of Kierkegaard’s thought up to the time of its writing. The further aim, shared with Theunissen, is to widen the basis for assessing the continuing relevance of Kierkegaard’s analysis of despair.

Keywords : acedy; choice; defiance; despair; eternal; irony; psychology; selfhood; spirit; Theunissen


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About the article

Received: 2018-01-08

Accepted: 2018-03-18

Published Online: 2018-05-24

Citation Information: Open Philosophy, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 40–49, ISSN (Online) 2543-8875, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2018-0004.

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© 2018 Alastair Hannay, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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