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Philotheos

Volume 17, 2017

Christina Danko
Pages 84-88

Hume, Kant and Kierkegaard
An Unlikely Trio

At a time when certain scholars insist that the self does not exist and is not worth discussing, a return to the work of Kierkegaard proves valuable insofar as he considers this topic without appeal to abstractions and instead by way of lived experiences. My paper argues that we gain crucial insights into what constitutes Kierkegaard’s lived self by considering the trajectory of a debate between two of his most prominent predecessors, Hume and Kant. From Hume we gain an account of the problem of thinking the self abstractly (i.e., the paradox of the bundle of perceptions having to be itself a perception) and how this problem vaguely connects to the passions. From Kant we gain an account of the psychological morality framing the self and the radical evil at its heart. I suggest that Kierkegaard builds on these accounts by synthesizing their abstract components in an embodied, dynamic context, showing (not telling) how the self can be presented in everyday experiences.