Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Voracious hermeneutics : on Kierkegaard's concept of the interesting
Author: Eagan, Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 9644
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Kierkegaard understood modernity as a crisis of authority emerging in the aftermath of European secularization, and thus as an epistemic and ultimately moral crisis wherein self-consciousness is marked by an absence of universal integration. The consequent prioritization of aesthetic detachment, which he believed he witnessed as a dominant trend in the contemporary philosophy, was for him a counter-productive response to and expansion of the crisis. The first volume of his first pseudonymous work, Either/Or, written from the perspective of an aesthete, consists of seven expositions on different artistic media and character types. As each exposition reveals progressively deeper forms of individual alienation and groundlessness, the aesthete grows increasingly obsessed with 'the interesting'-Kierkegaard's name for the discrepancy between human concealment and disclosure. From an initial attempt to regain immediacy and integration through music, to the culminating quest for selfish pleasure through a perverted diary of seduction, these expositions highlight the aesthete's growing belief that 'justice is done to aesthetics' only when individuals attempt to make life 'interesting'. My thesis illuminates the complex of issues signified by this claim, first by showing how the 'interesting' came to be the quintessential modern criterion, and next by detailing the moral and psychological dangers involved in pursuing 'the interesting' over other considerations. In a close explication of Kierkegaard's text, I show the insufficiency of aesthetics to make sense of the fundamental inner-outer uncertainty governing modern consciousness. As the aesthete moves through the alienated conditions of of doubt, guilt, pain, and boredom, his own crisis of subjectivity becomes ever more apparent, triggering a spiral in which his original uncertainty widens ad infinitum. Either/Or is a most acute diagnosis of the modern predicament. This thesis explores how the aesthetic attitude can lead to an ever-more voracious tendency to interpret the world in a private, self-defeating, and unscrupulous fashion.
Supervisor: Stern, Robert ; Pyper, Hugh Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available