chapter  22
12 Pages

Consciousness, Self, and Reflection

WithPatrick Stokes

This chapter will consider the structure of consciousness and the nature of reflection in Kierkegaard. While Kierkegaard’s remarks on the nature of consciousness are brief, schematic, and unfinished, the tripartite structure and account of reflection he develops ramifies both throughout his moral-religious psychology and, more surprisingly, throughout the history of 20th century phenomenology. Using a contemporary (and ongoing) debate over whether and how the self is figured in consciousness, this chapter shows that for Kierkegaard self-awareness is something we need to achieve, and that the form this achievement takes avoids the charge that Kierkegaard’s ideal subject is unrealistically and unethically self-absorbed.