Søren Kierkegaard

Date Of Birth:
5 May 1813
Date Of Death:
11 November 1855
Place Of Birth:
Copenhagen, Denmark
Best Known As:
The mordant Danish philosopher called 'the father of existentialism'

Name at birth: Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard's 19th century embrace of subjectivity and his understanding of the angst of human life made a strong impression on 20th century philosophy, and he is sometimes called "the father of existentialism." Kierkegaard had a wealthy father and money to live on, so he devoted himself to thinking and writing, publishing dozens of essays and books during his life. He had a flair for critical analysis and a quirk for satire, parody, sarcasm and irony. Kierkegaard was preoccupied with death (his own) and considered life to be dominated by fear, anxiety and despair. A critic of Georg Hegel, Kierkegaard gave as much weight to passion as reason, and thus embraced an irrational faith in a being that can't be known, the Christian god. The emphasis on the individual influenced existentialists, even if the theological leap did not. As a writer, Kierkegaard was quirky and experimental, often arguing with himself in print through pseudonyms. His works include Either/Or: A Fragment of Life (1843), Fear and Trembling (1843), and The Concept of Dread (1844).
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