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Title: The possible self : an exposition and analysis of metaphysical themes in Kierkegaard's theological anthropology
Author: Dargan, Geoffrey David
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 1565
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis proposes that Søren Kierkegaard's thought - in particular, his theological anthropology - is undergirded by an inchoate metaphysics of modality. It focuses on the concept of possibility (Danish: Mulighed), arguing that possibility is a primary ingredient of the Kierkegaardian self and serves as a kind of 'engine' for the development of the individual before God. Accordingly, viewing Kierkegaard's works through the lens of possibility is a fruitful way to gain new insights into his beliefs, and clarifies what he sought to express in his authorship. Kierkegaard, I argue, formulates a multilayered account of possibility that, while not abandoning metaphysics, re-frames possibility existentially, in terms of what the self may actually become, not only in and for itself but also in relation to God. One's selfhood and one's relation to God both require an ontology of possibility. His existential concerns arise from this metaphysical footing. This thesis then considers how possibility is integral to human selfhood. Genuine selfhood is an openness towards God's eternal possibility, rather than the self's attempting to create its own eternal possibilities via some other means of actualization. If the human person, by faith, becomes 'grounded in the absolute', then that person is becoming a self precisely because God is actualizing her possibilities. God is for Kierkegaard the source of all possibility. Theologically, Kierkegaard's conception of possibility presents us with ideas that may be fruitful in further discussion of God's attributes and the ways in which God is understood to relate to the created world. Anthropology, ontology, and theology are thus inextricably linked.
Supervisor: Rasmussen, Joel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Religion--Philosophy ; Philosophical theology ; Self--Religious aspects ; Metaphysics