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Title: Søren Kierkegaard's religious psychology of melancholy
Author: Ferguson, Harvie
ISNI:       0000 0001 2446 3024
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 1994
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Part One deals with social and historical aspects of melancholy in relation to the emergence of modernity. It is argued that one way of understanding modernity is in terms of the emergence of a characteristic world view associated with Copernicanism, and that this transformation 'from the closed world to the infinite universe' is the context within which the old term 'melancholy' was redefined in terms of the modern experience of 'motion', 'distance' and 'reflection'. It is argued that an initial understanding of this relation provides a meaningful context for the reading of Kierkegaard's comments on his own society, particularly those contained in his Two Ages, his varied journalistic production, and his thesis, The Concept of Irony. Part Two attempts to define and present three distinct perspectives within which psychological, philosophical and religious dimensions of melancholy are explored. I have termed these perspectives, respectively, topological, anthropological and philosophical. Not only the aesthetic works, but the 'theory of the spheres' - which has played a central part in much contemporary literature on Kierkegaard - are here treated as exemplifying a topological approach to the central issues of modernity. In contrast to this horizontal perspective, and cutting across it a various points, a distinctively vertical analysis of experience is explored in a number of anthropological works, including, The Concept of Anxiety. An openly philosophical analysis of modernity is then presented, using the works attributed to Johannes Climacus and Anti-Climacus. Part Three, as distinct from the secular works discussed in Parts One and Two, deals with Kierkegaard's explicitly religious writings. In these works, it is argued, Kierkegaard offers a description of religiously transformed, non-melancholic experience. He does so, however, by way of contrast with the melancholy which remains central to both our immediate and reflective forms of self-understanding.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BL Religion ; BF Psychology