C. Stephan Evans on Kierkegaard, Postmodernism, and Other Stuff

From an interview by Philosophy News:

    PNS: Many seem to view Kierkegaard as a postmodernist but in your primer Kierkegaard: An Introduction you appear to disagree with that assessment when you write, “Kierkegaard is certainly a philosopher who has a clear grasp of the limits of human language and human knowledge, but he is equally far removed from a philosophy that denies the value of rigorous thought and careful distinctions.” Would you say that Kierkegaard denies that any individual human can be in possession of a “metanarrative” that would provide the basis for interpreting all other narratives? If so, wouldn’t that make him a postmodernist?

    Evans: Of course everything depends here on what we call “postmodernism” and how we define “metanarrative.” There are themes in Kierkegaard that overlap with later postmodern emphases, particularly his arguments that objective human knowledge–the kind we gain when we take a detached, objective point of view–is always incomplete and subject to correction, because of human finitude (particularly our temporality) and our sinfulness. However, Kierkegaard takes, I try to show, a decidedly Greek (or “premodern”) view of truth as something objective. His instincts are entirely with traditional realism. It is because truth is objective that our knowledge can never be more than an approximation.

Read the whole thing.


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