Sessional Professor, Conestoga College
My talk aims to offer the grounds for a series of questions regarding Kierkegaard’s purported political significance. I will lay out the discussion in two directions. The first regards the puzzling, and often utterly contradictory, 20th century reception of Kierkegaard’s authorship within a political horizon. Here, the main question will be what exactly led to this baffling hermeneutical situation? Was it Kierkegaard’s thought itself? Or was it the distorting, if not abusive, readings of later interpreters? The second direction addresses the political landscape of Kierkegaard’s own time. Here, I will overview briefly the Danish cultural background in order to grapple with the following question: is there a reliable way to determine Kierkegaard’s politics? Was he a conservative in disguise? A bold progressive thinker? Or simply, a politically insouciant and incoherent author?
Leo Stan (Ph.D. McMaster, 2007) did his M.A in philosophy at Brock University. He counts Kierkegaard as his primary teaching and publishing area. His more recent and relevant publications include “Fertile Contradictions. A Reconsideration of The Seducer’s Diary” (2016), “Political Gaps: Slavoj Žižek and Søren Kierkegaard” (2014), “Kierkegaard’s Social-Political Posterity. A Still Unnavigated Maze” (2015), and Selfhood and Otherness in Kierkegaard’s Thought, Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books (forthcoming).