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Søren Kierkegaard's religious psychology of melancholy

Ferguson, Harvie (1994) Søren Kierkegaard's religious psychology of melancholy. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Part One deals with social and historical aspects of melancholy in relation to the emergence of modernity. It is argued that one way of understanding modernity is in terms of the emergence of a characteristic world view associated with Copernicanism, and that this transformation 'from the closed world to the infinite universe' is the context within which the old term 'melancholy' was redefined in terms of the modern experience of 'motion', 'distance' and 'reflection'. It is argued that an initial understanding of this relation provides a meaningful context for the reading of Kierkegaard's comments on his own society, particularly those contained in his Two Ages, his varied journalistic production, and his thesis, The Concept of Irony. Part Two attempts to define and present three distinct perspectives within which psychological, philosophical and religious dimensions of melancholy are explored. I have termed these perspectives, respectively, topological, anthropological and philosophical. Not only the aesthetic works, but the 'theory of the spheres' - which has played a central part in much contemporary literature on Kierkegaard - are here treated as exemplifying a topological approach to the central issues of modernity. In contrast to this horizontal perspective, and cutting across it a various points, a distinctively vertical analysis of experience is explored in a number of anthropological works, including, The Concept of Anxiety. An openly philosophical analysis of modernity is then presented, using the works attributed to Johannes Climacus and Anti-Climacus. Part Three, as distinct from the secular works discussed in Parts One and Two, deals with Kierkegaard's explicitly religious writings. In these works, it is argued, Kierkegaard offers a description of religiously transformed, non-melancholic experience. He does so, however, by way of contrast with the melancholy which remains central to both our immediate and reflective forms of self-understanding.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 1994
Depositing User: Elaine Ballantyne
Unique ID: glathesis:1994-1459
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:40
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/1459

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