Volume 2, 2012
The Perils of Overcoming “Worldliness” in Kierkegaard and Heidegger
Kierkegaard’s treatment of death has a great deal in common with Heidegger’s notion of “authentic Being-towards-death.” Most importantly, both thinkers argue that an individual’s death, rather than simply annihilating an individual’s life, meaningfully impacts this life while it is still being lived. Heidegger, like Kierkegaard before him, provides an anti-Epicurean account in which life and death are co-present. Despite this kinship, there have been numerous efforts from both the Kierkegaardian camp and from Heidegger himself to distinguish sharply the one from the other. While Heidegger makes several somewhat condescending comments about Kierkegaard’s endeavors, many Kierkegaardians are wary of associating him too closely with Heidegger (and his ample baggage). After a brief description of their largely shared philosophy of death, I would like to consider what I take to be the most significant complaint from each side and suggest a more nuanced understanding of their relationship.