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Title: Kierkegaard's category of repetition : a reconstruction
Author: Eriksen, Niels Nymann
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1999
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In 1843 Kierkegaard (or his pseudonym, Constantin Constantius) introduced the category of repetition as a paradigm of modern choughc. Greek t hought, he argued, belongs to the paradigm of recollection, and virtually the entire history of philosophy falls under this category. Modern thought can free itself from the hegemony of the Greek logos only when repetition replaces recollection. On the basis of this distinction between recollection and repetition, my dissertation analyses and explores the meaning of repetition as a paradigm of modern thought. The subtitle, 'a reconstruction', involves a double task. On the one hand, the book Repetition and the early notes on the category of repetition are reconstructed against the background of an understanding of the authorship as a whole. It is argued that Kierkegaard must be approached as a religious writer rather than a metaphysical thinker, and that, consequently, the meaning of the category of repetition can be grasped only on the basis of the distinction between religion and philosophy. Secondly, the category of repetition is reconstructed against the background of the thematization of nihilism in thinkers such as Nietzsche and Heidegger. Kierkegaardian repetition, it is argued, assumes th~ end of traditional metaphysics, but it interprets the event of nihilism in a way which is radically different from Nietzsche and Heidegger. According to Kierkegaard's line of thought, a paradigm of post-metaphysical thinking is provided by the Christian teaching of the incarnation. The six chapters of the dissertation are structured according to three guiding questions which reflect Kierkegaard's basic claims concerning repetition. The first claim is chat this category provides a new understanding of the historicaliry of existence. Whereas in the Greek paradigm, recollection implied 'backwards living', in the modern paradigm of repetition life must be lived forwards . This notion of historical ity is analysed in Chapters One and Two. The second claim is that repetition implies a happy relation to the other. Though this point plays an important role in Repetition, it is only brought out conceptually in some of the later writings. Chapters Three and Four therefore concentrate on select passages from The Concept of Anxiety and Philosophical Fragments (1844). The third claim is that the category of repetition provides an answer to the question of becoming. This theme is developed in Chapters Five and Six through a comparison with Nietzsche's doctrine of the eternal recurrence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral