chapter  36
11 Pages

Kierkegaard: The Dialectical Self and the Political

WithShoni Rancher

This chapter argues that Kierkegaard’s single individual before God expresses his view of the self as a dialectical relationship between the individual and the social. As such, Kierkegaard’s dialectical self is inherently political and key for understanding why Kierkegaard rejects any political orientation that cancels the dialectical relationship by prioritizing either the individual, as with liberalism, or the social, as with popular representative democratic or communitarian politics. By Kierkegaard’s lights, it is this dialectical infidelity that poses the dangers of deification of the nation-state or of individuals en masse. By contrast, the dialectical self before God is anti-authoritarian and anything but apolitical since, for Kierkegaard, it is God that delimits what can and cannot bring to rest the continual striving that marks the self as the double-movement between the individual and the social.