Philosophy Lost and Found: Irony and Renewal in Kierkegaard's Philosophical Fragments Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Readers of Kierkegaards Philosophical Fragments witness the development of Johannes Climacus from an initial posture of aesthetic detachment to a mutually elevating partnership with his unnamed interlocutor. Despite his (exaggerated) suspicions of philosophy, Johannes cautiously assents in Chapters IV and V of the Fragments to the philosophical innovations suggested by his unnamed critic. As he does so, he not only exposes the limitations of the Socratic account of recollection, which is what he set out to do, but also, and inadvertently, reveals the limitations of his own thought-project. As it turns out, the most notable (and persistent) of these limitations is his own fear of (ethical) commitment, which he associates with a union so toxic that one who is ill wed may crave the hangmans noose. Despite the success he enjoys in developing his thought-project, and the camaraderie he experiences with his former adversary, Johannes concludes Fragments by retreating to the safety of the aesthetic nook from which he ever-so-briefly emerged. Fascinated by philosophy but frightened by (what he takes to be) its serious implications, he contents himself with the fragments and crumbs of which his philosophical diet consists.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Conway, D.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Conway, Daniel

publication date

  • January 2021