Volume 27, Issue 4, December 2004
Karen D. Hoffman
Responses to Despair
Teaching Kierkegaard, Camus, and Orwell
Whereas many philosophy courses focus upon the problem that skeptical doubts can play in knowledge claims, Kierkegaard suggests that the problem of despair is a much more significant as it encompasses not only the intellect but the entire person. This paper details this problem in the context of Kierkegaard’s “The Sickness Unto Death”, Camus’s “The Plague”, and Orwell’s “1984” (a list of suggested pages from these books is also provided). While the author discusses how this problem was broached in a seminar on Kierkegaard, themes of this course could be integrated into a number of other philosophy courses, e.g. Existentialism, Philosophy of Literature, Introduction to Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Religion.