SKC Workshop

Andrzej Słowikowski

(Institute of Philosophy, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland)

"Kierkegaard’s Stages of Existence as a Model for Future Research on the Phenomenology of Religious Attitudes"

In my paper, I would like to show that Kierkegaard’s theory of the stages of existence – based on his concept of subjective truth – can be a starting point for more advanced considerations on how human beings are differentiated in terms of religious attitudes as understood from a phenomenological perspective. This means that Kierkegaard’s theory, in this case, is to provide a theorical model, one that shows the subjective mechanism of the various ways in which a human being relates to transcendence. In order to make this possible, it must be assumed that the stages of existence delineated by Kierkegaard describe not only how a person, thanks to their freedom, relates to themselves and creates their own self in existence, but also how various human references to transcendence can be situated in this scheme. In this view, in addition to the stage of religiousness B that is highest in the sense of human spirituality, the lower stages, such as the aesthetic, the ethical and religiousness A, could also describe the subjective mechanism of action of religiously engaged people. This scheme can become the basis for future research on the phenomenology of religious attitudes, as it provides an opportunity to disclose that which is concealed (the spiritual) and that which is decisive for the expression of human religiousness in what is apparent and communicated in human existential concreteness (judgements, emotions, actions, behavior). The aim of my paper is to show, firstly, how the subjective mechanism of religious attitude differentiation can be described using philosophical tools developed by Kierkegaard, and secondly, how the proposed model can be helpful in sorting out the complex and multidimensional world of religious attitudes, as well as clarify from an existential point of view where the roots of the radicalization of religious attitudes lie.