The Kierkegaard symposium was dedicated to the existential turn. The search for new formations of identity should allow for an asymmetrical relation at the very heart of ethics. Through Kierkegaard Eastern Europe can examine and open new philosophical perspectives and begin to rethink concrete ethics. The participants of the symposium included outstanding philosophers, intellectuals and theologians, all of them from Central and Eastern Europe. Slovenia, where Kierkegaard's thought has already established itself through the many translations and studies of Dr Primož Repar, is ideally placed for an encounter at the crossroads of different European experiences.

The 4th International Symposium of Miklavž Ocepek took place between 12th and 18th of June 2013 with accompanying events during the whole year. The working part of the symposium was comprised of two parts, the symposium part, that took place in the form of 3-day philosophical workshops, lectures, debates, roundtable, presentations of participants and their work and the social gatherings and cultural events in the village of Škocjan near Trieste (under the protection of the UNESCO convention). The symposium has opened in Ljubljana and continued in the Slovene capital with the final roundtable on the theme of the entire event: NEW OIKONOMY OF RELATIONSHIPS: NEIGHBOUR AND EXISTENTIAL TURN. How to philosophize after Kierkegaard? The last two days the symposium took the form of a colloquy, in which many researchers, philosophers, thinkers and writers took part. In the context of the event a film about Søren Kierkegaard and a tape of a lecture of Jean-Luc Marion “The Impossibility of the Impossible: God” were presented. Kierkegaard was popularized by readings from his work on different places of cultural significance in Ljubljana and in cooperation with the Embassy of Denmark Kingdom ensured various social events.


Editor: dr. Primož Repar

Number of pages: 397

Price: 29 €





Abrahim H. Khan

The actual individual as source for philosophizing after Kierkegaard


This essay argues that any new theory of relationships based upon Kierkegaard’s philosophy would have to take into consideration what it means to be an actualized self. His notion of such a self—one that allows for the possibility of coming into conflict with the socio-cultural and political order of the day—conceptually connects truth and subjectivity in such a way that it can help arrest the tendency towards loss of the self ’s unity and coherence

in daily existence. Some of the concepts he explores—such as the ethical importance of presupposing love in the other, and of understanding the actual self as an unfinished activity—have histories in modern philosophy that go through Kant and, ultimately, all the

way back to Socrates. The essay thematizes such topics within the Kierkegaardian corpus by examining two of his books, Edifying Discourses in Various Spirits, and Practice in Christianity, and goes on to explore the relevance of these works for our contemporary



Keywords: actual individual, the good, God-man, Kant, Socrates


Primož Repar



Between Gesture and Pathos


This article analyzes some of the crises of our age and points out the importance of existential revolution in one’s individual attitudes and outlook on life. An individual lives in an inner conflict: on the one hand, one lives under the impression of almightiness,

believing that everything is possible, yet on the other hand, one experiences helplessness, despair, doubt, and the loss of oneself. Inspired by Václav Havel, the author stresses the importance of passion as a foundational element for existential truth. Such truth

is always designated only for the single individual. The crucial issue is whether a person is capable of compassion and of maintaining an honest relationship with one’s neighbour, or whether one can only muster irony and egoism. Only an individual who has forsaken the crowd and changed one’s attitude to one’s neighbour is capable of an existential revolution.


Keywords: existential revolution, individual, Vaclav Havel, crowd, neighbour


Bojan Žalec


Nazism and Stalinism in the light of Kierkegaard's thought


The general aim of this article is to contribute to the answer how studying of Kierkegaard could help us to understand societal and political life. The author illustrates Kierkegaard’s usefulness by example of an innovative and illuminative Bellinger’s interpretation of Nazism and Stalinism given in Kierkegaard’s terms of anxiety and stadia of existence. Bellinger interprets Hitler and Nazism as an extreme pathological example of the aesthetic stadium and anxiety before the good, and Stalinism as an extreme pathological example of the ethical stadium and anxiety before evil. On this basis we may also speak about the importance of Kierkegaard for the understanding of depth motivation for political violence and crime.


Key words: Kierkegaard, anxiety before evil, anxiety before good, Charles K. Bellinger, Nazism, Stalinism.


Martin Beck Matuštík


The Scarcity of Singular Individuals in the Age of Globalization: A Kierkegaardian Response to Fundamentalism


Two reflections prompt me to update and correct my earlier existential critique of nationalism in which, against the backdrop of the Central and East European experience of 1989, I brought together Soren Kierkegaard and Vaclav Havel, at one end, and Jurgen Habermas, at the other, as allies. In the first reflection, Habermas muses about faith, knowledge, and fundamentalism in his October 14, 2001, speech given at Frankfurt’s Paulskirche on the occasion of receiving the Peace Award of the German Publishers. The second reflection is my new realization that an earnestly existing singular individual, who is an offspring of the age of secularization but not of its spiritlessness, is uniquely prepared to mount a credible challenge to fundamentalism in our age of globalization. This essay sketches a religious response to religious fundamentalism as a Kierkegaardian corrective to a purely secular, e.g. Habermasian, one.


Keywords: V. Havel, J. Habermas, singular individual, secularism, fundamentalism


Andrej Ule


Running up against the Paradox: Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard


The article provides an analysis of the confrontations with the limits of reason in Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard. For both thinkers such confrontations denote some sort of “running up against the paradox” that helps human beings to constitute themselves as ethical and/or religious subjects. Wittgenstein draws parallels between his running up against the ineffable limits of language and Kierkegaard’s portrayal of the Reason’s futile attempts to grasp the ineffable Absolute. I reject the so-called “austere” interpretation of Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard (e.g. Conant etc.) according to which the propositions in Tractatus and Kierkegaard’s “pseudonymous” works are to be understood as strictly nonsensical and as an attempt to articulate certain liminal ethico-religious positions held by the two authors. In contrast, the seemingly futile running up against the absurdity is presented as a necessary ingredient of a certain view of language and life, i.e. a view that conceives life and language merely as a succession of events and a description of facts. This view tends to overlook the fact that the meaning of a certain subset of events and propositions shows itself only if these events are valued in terms of the totality of individual life or state of affairs and if these propositions are accompanied by a wholesome way of living and a wholesome attitude towards the world. For both authors the confrontation with the absurdity is also closely related to the confrontation with madness as a far limit of reasoning.


Key words: paradox, limits of language, religion, meaning of life, forms of life


Mladen Dolar


Kierkegaard and psychoanalysis


To put together Kierkegaard and psychoanalysis in a title seems like putting together two different and completely divergent worlds that have no common ground of intersection, standing wide apart, so that any conjunction would seem to be forced and contrived. And yet, despite the radically different context, one could disentangle a common agenda that is played out and where Freud, unwittingly no doubt, takes up a thread that was left suspended in the air by Kierkegaard. The themes that come to the fore are anamnesis and repeating. The comparison is based primarily on Freud’s Remembering, Repeating and Working-Through and Kierkegaards’s Repeating. From the author’s analysis it comes out, that Freus, if red properly, should be placed on the side of repeating.


Keywords: S. Freud – S. Kierkegaard – Anamnesis – Repeating – J. Lacan - Psychoanalysis


Andras Nagy


The Sacral Character of the Stage versus the Profanity of the Pulpit. The Schism between Observation and Participation in Kierkegaard’s Late Writings


In my paper I focus upon Kierkegaard’s radical views both on church and on theater and also upon how these two institutions interfered during a crucial phase of his authorship. For the young Kierkegaard the theater was extremely inviting and inspiring, especially since he was himself a playwright, a theater critic, and a devoted theatergoer who often “staged” or analyzed his most profound philosophical dilemmas in the context of the theater; for example,

in Repetition or in Crisis and Crisis in the Life of an Actress. He was aware both of the sacral character of ancient theater and also of the special atmosphere around the stage even in his own times (what Johan Ludwig Heiberg, one of his significant contemporaries, called the “Sunday feeling”). Kierkegaard’s attack on the church, however, was largely fueled by his anger for the “theatralization” of church services, which had contributed to the loss of the sacral character of religious practice already in Christianity’s early period, once the church became a worldly institution.

theater, Crisis, theatralization of pulpit, J. L. Heiberg, attack on church


Dean Komel


Gadamer and Kierkegaard: On Contemporaneity


The article discusses Gadamer’s appropriation of Kierkegaard’s conception of contemporaneity in his work Truth and Method. The author proceeds from within the context of his own attempt at a hermeneutic elaboration of the phenomenon of contemporaneity as opposed to actuality, which he had extensively presented in his precedent articles and books. In this regard boundaries of Gadamer’s appropriation of Kierkegaard’s concept of contemporaneity are demonstrated, and at the same time a question is raised about the validity and range of Kierkegaard’s introduction of the existential experience into philosophy. How contemporaneity at all is, what today is, how can an individual existence be contemporary?


Key words: Gadamer, Kierkegaard, contemporaneity, hermeneutics, exsistence


Vaclav Umlauf

Fear and Trembling of Ontotheology


The hermeneutical vision of God is related through Heidegger and Kierkegaard to the research of contemporary phenomenology of Jean-Luc Marion. Kierkegaard's analysis of Abraham's sacrifice and revelation of divinity through so-called “recognition scenes” found in Homer's Odyssey and in Homeric hymns provide hermeneutic response to Heidegger's question of ontotheology.


Keywords: Jean-Luc Marion, philosophy of event, Martin Heidegger, ontotheology, Homeric hymns, hermeneutics, phenomenology, recognition scenes.


Janko Lozar


Kierkegaard, Heidegger and Us Moderns


The contribution tackles certain themes in Kierkegaard's oeuvre, which exert more or less direct influence on Heidegger's phenomenology. The analysis is followed by a more general reflection on the tense relationship between religious thought and philosophy.

Keywords: S. Kierkegaard – M. Heidegger – Phenomenology – Religion – Philosophy


Valentina Hribar Sorčan


Kant and Kierkegaard: From Universal to Personal Freedom


The article examines the differences between Kant’s and Kierkegaard’s conception of ethics and its main concept of freedom. Kant’s primary intention is to provide a foundation for a type of ethical subjectivity that is universal and free from particularity. Kierkegaard, on the other hand, speaks of the anxiety of subjective choice, of either-or, that is characterized by the hopelessness of decision-making, i.e. by a situation where no decision (as well as indecision) provides for an optimal solution. The author exposes the importance of Kierkegaard’s thought for French and German modern and contemporary philosophy, with special attention to the concepts of the Self, the Other and the intersubjectivity.


Key words: Kant, Kierkegaard, ethics, freedom, subjectivity, the Self, the Other


Alejandro Gonzales

Søren Kierkegaard: An ethical reflection about the neighbor and the Self.


The article talks about the relationship between the Self and the Other; a relation in which the human beings have learned how to deal with but in a very simple way. It is because of the everyday contact between each other, that we have lost the real meaning of the Other. Kierkegaard analyses this important and delicate relation, as he know that it has been written: you should love your neighbor as yourself. Kierkegaard, also discovers that The Ninety-Five Theses of Luthero (Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum) is just a waste of words and time, Kierkegaard argues that it is only necessary to love the neighbor as we love ourselves. The problem, however, has been in understanding how to love ourselves and what really this Other-Self relation means.


Keywords: Kierkegaard, ethics, Neighbor, Self, existentialism.


Humberto Ortega Villasñor

The Artist’s Living Choice


In the perspective of the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, the boundary between the aesthetic and the ethical spheres or dimensions of human existence is a porous one, and it can even disappear altogether when the artist’s activity follows a formative path of a mystical nature. This is what happened to those who were considered true artists in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican thought, that is, in a culture in which impulse was understood to succeed in overcoming the “either/or” dichotomy separating the aesthetic from the ethical, thereby elevating the artist’s spirit and transfiguring the transcendence of his aesthetic language. This is the core argument made by this essay, which reassesses the scope of Kierkegaard’s ideas as a modest contribution for considering their bearing on the past and the future.


Keywords: aesthetic, ethical, artist, mystical, Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican thought


Bogomir Novak


An attempt to apprehend Kierkegarrd's existential God


Kierkegaard is an existentialist philosopher breaking up with the European rationalist tradition spanning from Descartes to Hegel. He considers a “single one” to be an open spiritually awaken being in a situation. This is a de-substantive individual. The individual enters, by means of existential communication, into a relation with God who is absolute, transcendental, the Third. The individual is dedicated to God, willing to make sacrifices, give up their innermost desires (eg. Kierkegaard breaks the engagement with Regina Olsen) and lose. They are in either authentic or inauthentic relation with God. Authentic feelings are anxiety and permanent insecurity. Because of a rupture between God and man Kierkegaard was approaching towards a negative theology. Free unrewarded love holds key to salvation. Russian thinkers as Dostoyevsky, Berdyajey, Shestov, Solovjov and Frank criticized the conformism of Christianity in a similar fashion. Frank reinterpreted the negative theology for our time. Kierkegaard is particular in his definition of despair as a disease for death.

The three consciousness stages (aesthetic, ethic and theological) help the Christians to follow Kierkegaard’s life path. Is it possible to think God following a thinking type: (1) neither – neither; (2) either – either; (3) and – and, ie. to think in an exclusive, alternative or conjunctive/synthetic manner respectively. Kierkegaard is particular since there are all three types present. Kierkegaard's personal God is not a God of mystics even though there are signs of negative epistemic apprehension infinite goodness. The conjunction in thinking occurs after one repeatedly chooses to experience sacrifice and self-denial which are nonsensical in this world. Our life is an ongoing experimentation with God, which gives us the meaning without sense. Thus our thinking about our attitude to God is a mere guess-work.


Darko Štrajn


About the Beginning of Kierkegaard's Philosophy


It is considered that Kierkegaard anticipated a range of philosophical concepts, phenomena, currents, problems, etc.; certainly starting with the philosophical attitude, called existentialism. Observations of these anticipations are based on presuppositions ofKierkegaard’s initial philosophical formulations, which are read in later reflections as their own beginnings. Kierkegaard is – perhapsdue to his many essays and literary writings,inviting to a deciphering of their philosophical “background” –perceived evenmore than many other authors as an anticipative thinker. If we recognize this as valid, if we accept that Kierkegaard’s contribution to philosophy and culture, contains the attribute of breakthrough, singular and unique, unrepeatable caesura, then at the same time another important issue is opened, namely the question of the beginning of Kierkegaard's philosophy. For many philosophers their beginnings, such as concepts, categories, propositions, sayings /.../ that generate their own notional universe, are not necessarily concurrent with their initial writings. In Kierkegaard, as we demonstrate in this paper, they are. The true beginning of the key themes of his oeuvre isthus found in his dissertation The Concept of Irony, which he defended at the University of Copenhagen 29thSeptember 1841. Kierkegaard is in a philosophical view mostdefined by his relationship to Hegel, namely by his more subversive attitude than only critique of the philosophy of objective idealism. The Concept of Ironyshows something more than just this Kierkegaard's positioning, in fact, it shows that his formulation of subjectivity arose from the context of German classical philosophy, and we cannot be too surprised to learn that his critique of Fichte’s understanding of Subject and identity is in some key points matched with Hegel's critique of Fichte.


Keywords: existentialism, beginning of philosophy, Concept of Irony


Andrina Tonkli


Kierkegaard: The Scandal of Faith


What is the leap of faith? Is it a “suspension of the ethical”, suspension of the other in a moment of self-transformation of the knight of faith, or is it a monstrous paradox, the inherent ambiguity of existence and impossibility of ethics? – Revealed not just in the problem of “the other of the Other”, but also in the monstrous (feminine Christ’s) body for others. Our last question is, how does this aversion influence not only faith as such, but also the possible subversion of “given” norms and values.


Keywords: Kierkegaard – Levinas – Despair – Leap of Faith – The other of the Other – Monstrous body for others – Scandalous faith


Cvetka Hedžet Tóth


Subjectivity Behind (Beyond) the Subject


How to read Kierkegaard as a non-religious author? What is atheism in Kierkegaard's philosophy. Article tries to discuss the problem tin what extent is his philosophy postmodern philosophy. Can we draw a conclusion that the whole work of authorship is not construed only »from the point of view that the author is religious author«. The main emphasis is placed on the ethical dimension of his philosophy, which clearly emphasizes the meaning and role of the human being as the individual, thereby highly critically rejecting any system-oriented thinking.


Keywords: Søren Kierkegaard, existentialism, atheism, ethics, freedom


Marko Uršič


Unhappy consciousness” in Kierkegaard’s The Seducer’s Diary


The article tries to show the role and importance of Kierkegaard’s writing. The Seducer’s Diary in the frame of his fundamental work either/Or. What is under scrutiny is not only the dilemma between aesthetical and ethical consciousness, but also the “unhappy consciousness”. The latter has in Kierkegaard – contrary to Hegel’s definition of this concept – strong existential connotations.


Keywords: S. Kierkegaard – G.W.F. Hegel – Unhappy consciousness – Alternative – A. Camus


Janez Vodičar

A Conflict of Interpretations. In Between Self Confidence and Uncertainty Concerning the World (Ricoeur – Kierkegaard)


In his essay on Kierkegaard, Paul Ricoeur notes that a lack of infinity, the narrowness of a mediocre life, and a loss of horizon are all very practical options presented to anybody who experiences one’s existence merely as a number in a nameless crowd. If one can say that popular hermeneutics leads the postmodern man to the discovery of “losing one’s horizon,” then the key issue for Kierkegaard is: Can his paradoxical thinking and his conflicting positionings of the self-lead him, in the spirit of Ricoeur, to discover the narrowness of a mediocre life and to acquire a desire for infinity? Ricoeur’s concept of self as other, which the author enriches with an experience of Kierkegaard’s surpassing of entrapment in Hegelian systemic way of thinking, provides a reader a new opportunity for finding oneself. This discovery comes in a fragility of being, and in a world without illusions or even utopias, but in which, instead of cold and impersonal rationalizing, a modern Job may find one’s own human image in societal institutions.


Keywords: P. Ricoeur, loss of horizons, paradox, postmodern, self as other, human