SKC Research Seminar Spring 2022

Friday, May 20 from 13.00 to 17.00

Kierkegaard Today: Existential Ethics With or Without Christianity

How can we make sense of and—perhaps more importantly—how can we use Kierkegaard’s existential ethics today? This is a challenge confronting the interpretation and use of all traditional moral philosophers, but with Kierkegaard this challenge becomes more critical because of the explicit Christian nature of the authorship. We live in multicultural societies where a radical Christian outlook like the one we find in Kierkegaard’s work is both culturally and philosophically problematic. There are of course many ways of trying to solve this issue. At least three different interpretative strategies present themselves. The first two options are seemingly conflicting positions: while one argues that our only option is to secularise Kierkegaard’s ethics if it is to contribute to current debates in moral philosophy, the other claims that it is exactly in the specific Christian aspect of Kierkegaard’s ethics that we find his most important contribution. The third option is the more moderate argument that we should not secularise Kierkegaard’s ethics, but that his contribution to moral philosophy does not depend on the particular Christian character of his ethics. This seminar will explore these interpretative strategies, the relevance of Kierkegaard’s ethics, and the costs and benefits of secularizing Kierkegaard’s Christianity.


13.00-13.15 René Rosfort: Introduction: Kierkegaard Between Faith and Reason 

13.15-13.45 Karl Verstrynge: If Our Duty to Love is 'of Divine Origin'. Some Ongoing Remarks on the Strained Relation between Ethics and Religion, with the Convictions of Søren Kierkegaard Held as an Example

13.45-14.15 Discussion

14.15.-14.30 Break (coffee/tea/water)

14.30-15:00 René Rosfort: How to Be a Good Sinful Creature: On the Function of Sin in Kierkegaard’s Ethics

15.00-15.30 Discussion

15.30-15.45 Break (coffee/tea/water)

15.45-16.15 Mélissa Fox-Muraton: Distinctiveness without Distinction: Secularising Kierkegaard's Concepts for a Contemporary Existential Ethics

16.15-16.45 Discussion   

16.45-17.00 René Rosfort: Concluding Remarks

 All are welcome. No registration necessary.