[MUSIC] The years 1844 to 1846 were perhaps the most productive in Kierkegaard's entire life. In this lecture, we want to explore the series of famous works that he penned during this period. Among others the Philosophical Fragments,the Concept of Anxiety, Prefaces, Stages on Life's Way, and the Concluding Scientific Postscript. These books present a complex series of works extensively authored by different pseudonyms each with his own agenda and intentions. At first glance this may all look like a kind of playful chaos or straightforward kind of madness on Kierkegaard side but in this lecture we'll try to make sense of Kierkegaard's plan with these works and their complex relations to one another. What we'll see is that many of the main motifs containing Socrates that Kierkegaard originally treated in the concept of irony now reappeared in different contexts in these later works. Well Socrates is never again made the central object of investigation as he was in Kierkegaard's masters thesis. He nonetheless haunts these later works in ways that are often not so easy to see. We'll explore how Kierkegaard returns to Socrates repeatedly as a source of inspiration. This is particularly interesting when we consider that these works treat important Christian concepts, such as the incarnation, the revelation, faith Sin and forgiveness. Many people might think that it's outrageous to believe that a pagan philosopher can help to understand these Christian concepts. Here we catch a glimpse of the radicality of Kierkegaard thought. He believes that Socrates has some important insights for Christians today. In one text, Kierkegaard acknowledges the objection saying quote, true, Socrates was no Christian, that I know. But then Kierkegaard goes on to make the highly provocative and enigmatic statement and continue quote I also definitely remain convinced that he Socrates has become one. That is that Socrates has become a Christian, so although Socrates was born and died centuries before Christ and before the birth of Christianity, nonetheless Kierkegaard believes that Socrates became a Christian. What could he possibly have meant by this? Kierkegaard continued with his enormous productivity and published the book Philosophical Fragments, or a fragment of philosophy, on June 13, 1844. Kierkegaard presents this work under the name of a pseudonym Johannes Climacus, although his own name appears on the title page as the editor of the work. The title of the work is Fragment, is often taken as a protest against systematic philosophy. Socrates plays an important role especially at the beginning of this work. Kierkegaard, as a pseudonymous author, explored Socrates's role as a teacher. This might strike us at first sight as inconsistent with what he said earlier about Socrates's insistence on his own ignorance and his denial that he ever taught anything. But there's no inconsistency here, and Johannes Climacus emphasizes that, in contrast to the 19th century, which was focused on constructing things and on positive content, "Socrates lacked the positive.". What then does Climacus mean here by designating Socrates as a teacher, since usually teachers are thought to convey certain material, or in Kierkegaard language, something positive? Here, Climacus makes reference to Socrates's art of mayudics or midwifery. Socrates doesn't produce the ideas or thoughts in the student, but rather helps the student to find them within himself. So in this sense Socrates is a teacher, since he's the occasion for the student to arrive at the truth, but Socrates doesn't teach him the truth. Philosophical Fragments is about the doctrine of the incarnation and the revelation of Jesus Christ. But Kierkegaard is careful not to mention Jesus by name or to cast the analysis explicitly in terms of Christianity. For this reason, he talks merely about the god without any further designation. The idea is that this could apply to any religion in principle. Kierkegaard contrasts Socrates' rule as midwife with the rule of Christ as savior who's also the occasion for his followers to learn the truth. Kierkegaard is keen to point out some important contrasts between the Socratic model and the Christian model but the comparison in itself is interesting. While Socrates is obviously not Christian, his idea of midwifery can be useful in helping us to understand the Christian truth. Kierkegaard also uses Socrates to introduce the notion of the absolute paradox. He begins chapter three of the work by recounting the passage from Plato's dialogue, The Phaedrus. Where Socrates says that he was not interested in exploring the nature of certain mythological creatures, such as Pegasus and the Gorgons, because he was primarily concerned with discovering what he himself was as a human being. He claims to be ignorant of what he himself is, and is uncertain whether he might not be a monster like Typhon. Kierkegaard has Yohanas Clinicas refer to this as a paradox. He defines this as the desire, quote, to want to discover something that thought itself cannot think. For Socrates, this means apparently understanding what he is ultimately as a human being, which he can never quite grasp. The understanding wants to grasp what is unknown and is constantly frustrated when it encounters what is unknown. This unknown must be something absolutely different since if it were similar to us then we could know it by recognizing certain aspects of it that we're familiar with it. The human mind can't grasp what's absolutely different. Johannes Climacus suggests we call the unknown the god. The analysis suddenly shifts over to a Christian context, although again, this is not stated explicitly. The unspoken issue is the Christian doctrine of incarnation according to which God became incarnated as a human being in Jesus Christ and revealed himself God is unknown but wants to make himself known by means of the revelation. According to Johannes Klimikas, this too involves a paradox. God is infinite and eternal but yet he became finite and temporal with the incarnation. This seems to be a straightforward contradiction. Climacus calls it a paradox, indeed, the absolute paradox. This contradiction is not something that the human mind could grasp or think. It just stands as a contradiction that we must accept. This is clearly meant as a response to the idea of mediation that was found in the work and figures such as Martensen. Who were influenced by Hegel. According to the Hegelian view, there are no absolute dichotomies or contradictions and everything can be mediated. So, as we've seen according to Martensen, there's no absolute difference between human and divine or between finite and infinite, temporal and eternal. Each of these terms is necessarily related to the other and thus mediated by it. Jointly, they form a higher conceptual structure since they must be regarded as belonging together organically. When one understands the terms in this way, it is possible to give a philosophical explanation of the incarnation and revelation of Christ. This is something that can be understood by using Hague's speculative logic. And there's no contradiction in thinking that God as an infinite became finite. It was this explanation that Chios objected to.With the doctrine of the absolute paradox, it clearly wants to insist that the revelation is an example of an absolutely fixed irreducible dichotomy. An either or that cannot be mediated. He uses Socrates as his model as someone who accepts that there are some things that he cannot know or understand, who accepts that there are some things that must be regarded as paradoxes. Kierkegaard published his next major work on June the 17th, 1844, namely, The Concept of Anxiety which is ascribed to the pseudonymous author Vigilius Haufniensis. Were the watchmen of Copenhagen. This appeared only four days after philosophical fragments. And on the same day, is another book entitled, Prefaces. The concept of anxiety is one of Kierkegaard's most scholarly works along with the concept of irony. It treats the complex set of issues concerning the freedom of the individual and hereditary sin. It's in this context that his influential analysis of anxiety appears. It seems odd then that in a work about the Christian dogma of sin that the pagan philosopher Socrates would play a role. But once again it's clear that Kierkegaard] is constantly looking to Socrates as a model and as a source of inspiration. Socrates is mentioned at the very beginning of the work in the opening motto that follows the title page. He's compared positively to modern philosophy. The motto begins, quote, The age of making distinctions is past. It has been vanquished by the system. This refers to the Hegelian doctrine of mediation that as we have seen, brings together opposites or as implied here eliminates distinctions. By means of Hagels logic opposite terms such as being in nothing, finite and infinite, one in many can be mediated by showing the necessary relation of the one side of the opposition to the other. To hold firmly to one side of an opposite and to fail to recognize the other is, according to Hegel, a sign of dogmatism. For Kierkegaard, by contrast, the key is to keep the oppositions and contradictions in focus, and not to mediate them. His slogan, either or, Emphasizes that one is obliged to take one side or the other and no mediation is possible. Now, here, in the motto to the Concept of Anxiety, Socrates is invoked as someone who, like Kierkegaard, insisted on distinctions. It's noted that this might seem somewhat eccentric in modern times now that people are used to Hegel's philosophy. Kierkegaard quotes the German philosopher Johann Georg Hamann who is also a great admire of Socrates. Hamann writes, quote, "For Socrates was great in that he distinguished between what he understood and what he did not understand.". By using this as the model of the work Kierkegaard seems to imply that he wishes to follow the lead of Socrates, and insist on unshakeable distinctions in order to resist mediation. Kierkegaard dedicated the concept of anxiety to his old teacher, Poul Martin Moller, who had died in 1838. Socrates's name also appears in this dedication, when Moller is referred to as, quote, the confidant of Socrates. This seems to confirm the idea that we discussed earlier. Namely that Muller's interest in Socrates and Socratic irony, played an important role in curating intellectual development and may well have served as the inspiration for his book the concept of irony. In the introduction to his book, Kierkegaard mentions Socrates when he presents the topic of the work, namely the concept of sin. He begins by making the following claim: sin does not properly belong in any academic field, but it is the subject of the sermon, in which the single individual speaks as the single individual to the single individual. This assertion will strike the as some what odd since traditionally, the dogma of sin belonged to the scholarly field of theology, and specifically, dogmatics. Here, at the outset, Gerhard has a pseudonymous author indicate that his approach and understanding of sin will be something very different, indeed. Something at odds with the scholarly account. Also somewhat odd is his description of a sermon. Usually we think a sermon as like a lecture where a priest or a pasture explains a certain biblical passage to the congregation. But also here, Kierkegaard wants to signal a different understanding. While he admits that some pastors in his own day had been corrupted by scholarship and recent philosophical trends and thus give sermons that sound like lectures, this is not the true nature of this sermon. Then comes the truly surprising passage. Kierkegaard writes "But to preach is really the most difficult of all arts and is essentially the art that Socrates praised, the art to being able to converse.". This seems very odd since Socrates never attended a Christian service, and never heard a sermon in his entire life. But Cuhard compares Socrates' form of discussing and conversing with the Christian sermon. The key term in both cases is what Kierkegaard refers to as appropriation. The idea for Socrates is that through his questioning in conversation the individuals led to find the truth within himself. This means taking something and giving it their own interpretation or appropriation in ones own special context. So also with the sermon, the pastor, instead of simply preaching some external fact or bit of knowledge, encourages the individual members of the congregation to find the truth of Christianity in themselves, each in their own way. Every follower of Christ must appropriate the Christian message for him or herself. So for Kierkegaard the key here is that the truth both for Socrates and for Christianity is something inward that must be appropriated by people as individuals. So even though Socrates is not a Christian thinker, he can nonetheless give us insight into Christianity. In Chapter four of The Concept of Anxiety, Kierkegaard again has his pseudonymous author contrast Socrates with modern philosophy and especially Hegel. This appears in the context of a discussion of the notion of negation and what Kierkegaard refers to as enclosed reserve. The Danish term that's translated as enclosed reserve is [FOREIGN], and it means literally something like, closing oneself off from the world or from other people. It's natural to understand negativity in this context, since when one is closed off, into oneself, it can be said that one negates the outside world. We've seen how important negation is, in Kierkegaard's understanding of irony. And the passage in question from the concept of anxiety, references made to Hegel's treatment of Socrates, which we studied earlier in this course. Kierkegaard writes "Thus irony has been explained as the negative.". Hegel was the first to discover this explanation, but strangely enough he did not know much about irony. Hegel's lack of understanding is then contrasted to Socrates' full appreciation of the importance of irony. Kierkegaard continues in the same passage quote, that it was Socrates who first introduced irony into the world and gave a name to the child, but this irony was precisely inclosing reserve Which began by closing himself off from men, by closing himself in within himself in order to be expanded in the divine. This is something that no one is concerned with. Here, Kierkegaard again emphasizes the element of subjectivity that Socrates introduced. There's something infinitely important and valuable in each and every individual. But to get to this, one must occasionally get away from the crowd, from other people. This distancing oneself from others involves negation and irony. One must instead focus on one's own inwardness and religiosity. Kierkegaard takes Socrates to be the first one to have realized this. Here again we see an intriguing juxtaposition of an issue concerning Christian faith and the practise of a pagan philosopher which Kierkegaard uses as a model. In close reserve is another important Kierkegaardian concept that makes use of the idea of negation and irony from Socrates. [MUSIC].