Kierkegaard Project Seminar: Claudia Welz

Claudia Welz: Conscience, Self-deception, and the Question of Authenticity in Kierkegaard

In this seminar I will investigate the meaning of three key terms, namely ‘conscience,’ ‘self-deception,’ and ‘authenticity.’ If conscience – derived from the Latin word con-scientia – is a ‘knowing-with’ oneself that testifies to one’s private thoughts and feelings as well as to one’s actions and decisions in relation to others, being accused by one’s conscience can become such a burden that one may desire that the self-knowledge conscience provides against oneself could be deleted. Yet, thereby one would deceive oneself. In what ways can human beings deceive themselves, and how can self-deception be prevented or cured, so that we can live ‘authentically,’ if this is possible at all?