UNIVERSITY OF SAN CARLOS
CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES
Soren Kierkegaard: Stages on Life’s Way
A Term Paper
Ms. Maria Majorie R. Purino, Ph. D.
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirement for the course
PHILOSOPHY 25: PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
Soren Kierkegaard writings basically speak about how human live and how human choose to live. Kierkegaard philosophize what its mean to be alive. His subject was the individual and his or her existence, the existing being. In Kierkegaard’s view, this purely subjective entity is lay beyond the reach of reason, logic, philosophical systems, theology or even psychology. Nonetheless, it was the source of all subjects. The branch of philosophy in which Kierkegaard gives birth what has come to be known as existentialism. Existentialism can best be described as a mood within philosophy that emphasizes the concrete and particular existence of man in the world. Later Existentialists described man as having no essence but only existence. Existentialism’s core philosophy is the problem of existence. Kierkegaard reexamine the most first philosophical questions ever to be asked, “What is existence?” Kierkegaard insisted that every individual should not only ask this question but should make his very life his own subjected answer to it. This stress on subjectivity is Kierkegaard main contribution. The answer did not rely on constructing a perfect system which explains everything. That was more fundamental problem which prompted question such as, what is existence, what does it means to exist? It was Kierkegaard who set himself a task in answering these questions. Human Existence
Kierkegaard’s whole career might well be considered a self-conscious revolt against abstract thought and attempt on his part to live up to Feuerbach’s admonition: “Do not wish to be a philosopher in contrast to being a man… do not think as a thinker…think as a living, real being… think in Existence.” Human individual face personal choices which Kierkegaard meant to think in terms of existence. In describing the human situation, Kierkegaard distinguished between what we now are and what we ought to be. On Kierkegaard’s stages of life says that there is a movement from our essence to our existence. The very essential of our human nature involves a relation to God since we are created in the likeness and image of God. To find meaning to our existences is to finding the path going toward God. But because of sins we become separated from God and there is a gap which is called alienation. To fill up this gap the solution for Kierkegaard is to relate ourselves to God. Shifting our orientation toward God, though is often a tricky process, which Kierkegaard describes in terms of “stages on life’s way.” Kierkegaard's Stages
Fundamentally, Kierkegaard suggested that there are two ways we can live our life the aesthetic and the ethical. The third stage, the religious stage, is the synthesis of the two. Each individual has the opportunity to make a conscious choice between these two. The first two stages are characterized by a distinct set of beliefs and behavior that is easily identifiable, whereas the last stage, the religious, is characterized by a highly personal, subjective, and non-rational "leap of faith". In making this choice the individual must accept full responsibility for his action which will characterize his entire existence in the most fundamental manner.
The Aesthetic Stage
Individual who choice the aesthetic viewpoint basically lives for themselves and in their own pleasure. This stage is characterized by an indulgence in the pleasurable and beautiful that life has to offer. This need not be a shallow attitude to life. At this level human individual would behave according to his impulses and emotions. In working for...
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