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Back To and Beyond Socrates: An Essay on the Rise and Rhetoric of Existential Pedagogy
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History of Science and Ideas.
2008 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay concerns itself with the historical background to what it refers to as existential pedagogy, which designates the way in which existential literature presumably seeks to affect the reader so that he experiences his existence as isolated, and how this is done through the employment of harsh and uncompromising language and rhetorical devices. The assumption underlying this project is that there is a pedagogical purpose to the existential manner of de-livery, and this essay traces this purpose back to how in the 18th century certain thinkers – Johann Georg Hamann and Friedrich Schlegel – came to look back at Socrates rhetorical en-deavour in order to perfect their own desire to place the question of ‘meaning’, ‘knowledge’ or ‘truth’ into the hands of the receiving individual – the reader of a text or the student of a teacher. By studying the manner in which Hamann and Schlegel used this Socratic rhetoric in their own authorship, I seek to establish how they considered it vital that the recipient experi-enced himself as thoroughly alone in order to cultivate his ability to infuse meaning into the world. The essay continues to examine how Sören Kierkegaard – in his capacity as the mythi-cal ‘father of existentialism’ – conceived of the Socratic rhetoric as lacking in sufficiently accounting for the despair and sinfulness he saw as being intertwined with experiencing one-self as lonely and ignorant. By studying how Kierkegaard approached the reader in his pseu-donymous and existential literature, the essay makes it clear that the existential pedagogy util-ized by Kierkegaard works in order to simultaneously infuse the reader with a feeling of isola-tion and ignorance, as it, through repeatedly focusing on the despair involved in that condi-tion, provoked the reader into taking action, despite (or, existentially, because he was) being taught that he, on account of his inevitable loneliness and ignorance, could not.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , p. 61
Keywords [en]
Existential, Pedagogy, Rhetoric, Johann Georg Hamann (1730-1788), Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829), Sören Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-113832OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-113832DiVA, id: diva2:291986
Presentation
(English)
Uppsok
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2010-08-20 Created: 2010-02-04 Last updated: 2010-08-20Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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