Truth and Subjectivity in KierkegaardJune 27, 2021
Kierkegaard has seen that since the Greeks, the history of philosophy uses only reason and experience to make sense of the world. But the real starting point is choice, because you have to make a decision at every intersection, every time.
Kierkegaard opposed organized religion, especially the Danish State Church, of which most Danes belonged in the nineteenth century. The reason he vehemently attacked the idea of the state church was that the main purpose of such an institution was to increase religious affiliation. This has the effect of depriving Christians of initiative, who must take responsibility for their own relationship with God.
Truth is subjectivity, said Kierkegaard. What he means by this strange understanding is that there is no pre-fabricated truth “on the fly” for the people who choose. On the contrary, as William James would later say, “Truth is created” by the action of the will. Choice is your constant but burdensome companion. Kierkegaard writes, “What I really lack is clarity in my mind about what to do, not what to know… It’s about finding the truth that is true to me, ideas for which I can live and die.”
Intermediate Note: In his book “Unscientific Notes Concluding (1844)”, Kierkegaard put forward a concept of fideism, which states that belief is superior to reason. Faith, not reason, is the highest virtue attainable by man; Faith is essential to the deepest satisfaction and fulfillment.
The phrase “true to me” indicates that Kierkegaard places a higher importance on subjective truth than objective truth. And this is what makes Kierkegaard the “Father of Existentialism”. Truth is subjectivity. Truth is what the individual acts according to it, it is a form of existence. One exists in his own truth and lives in it. The highest expression of subjectivity is passionate belief. This is what is called “existential” thinking.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook, “Philosophy in All Aspects” by Kennet Shouler