Courses at Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre – Copenhagen University

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Courses at Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre


Current courses in the Autumn-semester of 2018

The Kierkegaard Seminar: Reading Concluding Unscientific Postscript 
with associate professor René Rosfort. 
Mondays 15-17:30.

Søren Kierkegaard: Making of the Modern Self: Existential Thought
with associate professor Brian Söderquist.

Kierkegaards Authorship 
with associate professor Brian Söderquist.

The Ethical Brain: Philosophy and Neuroscience  
with associate professor René Rosfort. 
Thursdays 13:30-16:30.

Philosophy of Mental Health
with associate professor René Rosfort.


Fixed courses

Kierkegaard’s Authorship

A study of the works of Copenhagen’s most radical author, Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Kierkegaard’s entire authorship is centered around the existential project that confronts every human being: to become oneself and none other than oneself. This course examines his witty, humorous, but also deeply earnest, exploration of self-identity. We remain especially attentive to the ways in which Kierkegaard’s thought is critical of inherited ethnic and cultural definitions of self, and study how his approach is uniquely modern.

The Kierkegaard Seminar

The seminar provides an opportunity for students to work with some of the influential themes in Kierkegaard’s authorship in terms of a close reading of one of his central works. This reading has a twofold aim. On the one hand, it gives the students a sense of the peculiar texture of Kierkegaard’s writing and his existential approach to philosophy. On the other hand, it provides the students with a systematic understanding of fundamental themes in Kierkegaard’s philosophy (e.g. anxiety, despair, faith, selfhood, and love). Moreover, the seminar situates Kierkegaard in the context of contemporary philosophy, articulating how Kierkegaard’s multifaceted authorship can help us understand and deal with challenges to human existence in the twentieth-first century

Making of the Modern Self: Existential Philosophy

Focusing on thinkers from Continental Europe like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, and Copenhagen’s own Søren Kierkegaard, this course traces the development of the conception of ‘selfhood’ in the 19th and 20th centuries. We study how ethical thinking has moved from the language of duty to that of personal answerability, and how the search for meaningful personal existence has increasingly become the responsibility of the individual.

Religion in Crisis

We explore the evolution of religious thinking in the 19th and early 20th centuries, much of which was a response to the Enlightenment demand that religion justify itself in terms of rationality. We examine authors such as Hegel, Feuerbach, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, James, Otto, Bultmann, Tillich, and Lindbeck. This course is interdisciplinary and includes readings and discussions relevant for philosophy, theology, and religious studies.

The Ethical Brain: Philosophy and Neuroscience

The past two decades have seen an explosive surge in neuroscientific explanations of human nature, promising clearcut biological answers to hackneyed philosophical questions concerning rationality, emotion, behavior, value, and ethics. This course sets out to examine to what extent such a promise is warranted – in particular concerning existential questions such as anxiety, responsibility, and religious faith.

Philosophy of Mental Health

Mental illness is an increasing problem involving dramatic personal and socioeconomic costs. Developments in genetics, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience over the last two decades have made it obvious for psychiatrists and psychologists alike that the question ‘what is mental illness?’ is still an open question that requires interdisciplinary resources. In this course, we attempt to develop a solid conceptual framework for the interdisciplinary exploration of mental illness. This course is an introduction to the burgeoning field of philosop

Søren Kierkegaard: The Individual in the Global Society (SUMMERCOURSE)

The course takes a Danish perspective on common existential themes by reading the world famous local philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, in his hometown and at his own university. The main topic of the course is Søren Kierkegaard's witty and deeply earnest exploration of the problem of self-identity. Beginning with the breakdown of culture-specific ethnic and religious categories that have traditionally defined the self, the course treats Kierkegaard's scathing critique of religious culture and politics, his view that religious demands can conflict with seemingly universal ethical duties, and his assertion that the look of the Other is a defining factor in self-identity.

Fixed courses will be offered at every semester or as summercourses. Locate them through the University of Copenhagen's course-catalogue.

Kierkegaard as a part of the BA and MA program:

Since the late 1980s, the study of Kierkegaard has been a permanent part of the ‘Ethics and Philosophy of Religion’ program (currently only offered in Danish) at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Copenhagen. All BA students must read Kierkegaard’s Philosophical Fragments, and numerous MA theses and papers for elective courses have been written on Kierkegaard. The study of Kierkegaard has also been a central part of a great number of comprehensive examinations. This professional interest in Kierkegaard has continued with many PhD dissertations.