Kierkegaard, Socrates, Hegel et al

I completed a course on Kierkegaard and Socratic irony from the University of Copenhagen. It was an excellent view into how Kierkegaard interpreted Socrates and the Socratic method of finding the truth through questioning tradition and discovering why what people believe is wrong. Kierkegaard applied that process even to the church and its ossified ecclesiology, wherein people did not find Christ for-themselves. I used the information in several essays. Fundamentally the course was very enjoyable and enlightening concerning a deeper view of historical European philosophy. The course is useful for those seeking to understand why bureaucrats are such klutzes at forming good policy to address challenges of the modern world including the ongoing mass extinction.

Tradition and history are important for cultural continuity. Yet it isn’t an either/or criterion of choice challenging people. That is people may and even must question tradition in order to refine or reform it- as Luther did, and as contemporary Christian clergy seem to have forgotten to. A priesthood of believers for example, is possible today to actualize Luther’s notation that all Christians are priests.

Today’s elites may share views of society as objects-for-others as did select intellectuals of the European Romanticist milieu. Feuerbach, Marx and Fichte were students of Hegel. The era of German romanticism was in full swing with the idea of Socrates about irony and subjectivity, relativism vs. naive empiricism experiencing radical development.

Apparently Hegel in his criticism of Socrates felt that the negation of truth or knowledge in outward social structures in favor of individuals discovering the truth for-themselves, went too far, insofar as it left everything negative and a vacuum. The romantics liked that and some developed the concept so far as to be virtual nihilists with a self-defining ego and the only meaningful fact.

Hegel developed his idea of the historical dialect of the world spirit realizing itself, and Marx and Engels followed along adapting the paradigm to their own purposes. Hegel though was wrong about the world spirit for several reasons, and off the mark about his criticism of Socratic irony i.m.o. Yet he was right that one should have a positive doctrine (Marx tried to propound one, however the positive doctrine should be conditional, contingent and pragmatic rather than explicitly comprehensive and explanatory universally and inclusive of the political environment.

Probably Darwin came closer to actualizing a positive doctrine similar to Hegel’s evolving dialectic, yet without any sort of spiritual or socially deterministic pretension. Evolution obviously does not progress in a bifurcated dialectic yet is discrete, although all within a unified physical law paradigm that is thermodynamically deterministic.

I believe that God set the Universe into being and transcends quantum cosmological explanatory paradigms. So he may entail determinism and indeterminism concurrently due to his omniscience and omnipotence. Temporal points of view may aspire toward a reductionism that present a political point of view as natural law. That generally would be in error.