Essay on Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein

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Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein The connections between Ludwig Wittgenstein and Soren Kierkegaard as philosophers are not at all immediately obvious. On the surface, Wittgenstein deals with matters concerning the incorrect use of philosophical language and Kierkegaard focuses almost exclusively on answering the question 'how to become a Christian'. But this account belies deeper structural similarities between these men's important works. Thus, this paper suggests that their methods, rather than exclusively content, contain a strong parallel on which a natural and hopefully fruitful examination of their work can be based. I claim that on at least four counts, Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein present clearly analogous form: indirect…show more content…
Kierkegaard's works are not straightforward proclamations of his philosophy: he wrote under pseudonyms and assumed the persona of these fictional characters in his writing. Thus, one must be careful when attributing a particular position to Kierkegaard -- often the view is advanced by a pseudonym, so various inferential processes must be applied in order to substantiate a claim that Kierkegaard really meant any statement. Foremost among the structural similarities between Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein works is the use of indirect communication: as paradoxical as it may sound, both authors deliberately obfuscate their philosophy for the purposes of clarifying it. Clarification of the preceding assertion is obviously required. Each author felt that, due to inherent properties of their subject matter, outright delineation of their conclusions would somehow be a self-contradiction. Clearly their respective subject matter, the logical structure of language and the task of becoming a Christian, is inherently disparate. But let us examine more closely particular instances of indirect communication from both of the philosophers with the intention of finding similarity. "By indirection, find direction out." -- Polonius, (Hamlet: II, i, 72) Soren Kierkegaard The use of pseudonyms: The purpose of pseudonyms was to present a viewpoint which the reader was initially to sympathize with. As the

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