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What is the leap of faith and why does Kierkegaard characterize it as the “teleological suspension of the ethical”?


1.What was Kierkegaard’s “universal formula”? How did it influence his thinking? What did he learn from the episode with Regina Olsen?

2.What did Kierkegaard mean by “the crowd” and why was he so critical of it? Do you agree with his assessment? Explain.

3.Explain what Kierkegaard meant when he said that “truth is subjectivity.” Is this the same as “truth is relative”? Explain.

4.What does Kierkegaard mean by “becoming a subject”? Why is “becoming a subject” so important to his philosophical enterprise?

5.What is the leap of faith and why does Kierkegaard characterize it as the “teleological suspension of the ethical”?

6. Reflect back over your philosophical studies so far. Can you recognize yourself in the philosophies you’ve studied? In which ones? (page 396)
How do you make life choices? Do you make them clearly and consciously, or do things just somehow happen? Is it possible to choose without being fully engaged? Does your religion or philosophy help you make concrete choices? Does a psychological theory? (page 404)
Identify some current examples of leveling, and discuss the general notion of leveling. Must efforts at furthering equality result in leveling? Is leveling possibly desirable? (page 409)
Why do you think Kierkegaard makes one of the horses “a Pegasus” and the other “a worn-out jade”? Who was Pegasus? What is a worn-out jade? (Hint: This has something to do with Kierkegaard’s profound interest in his and our relationship to God.) (page 412)
Compare Kierkegaard’s claims about the limits of objectivity and reason with Hume’s assertion that “reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions” (Chapter 10). (page 412)
Think back to the example of a cart being hauled by a Pegasus and a worn-out jade. Is Kierkegaard’s reason for choosing those two horses getting perhaps a bit clearer? (page 413)
Contrast Kierkegaard’s approach to theological arguments to Aquinas’s Five Ways and Descartes’s ontological argument. (See Chapters 8 and 9.) (page 414)

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