Kierkegaard's refutation of Hegel in "Either/Or" Analytical Essay by Shaad

Analysis of Kierkegaard's novel "Either/Or" to judge how far the author succeeds in refuting correspondence between the inner and the outer.
# 147134 | 2,188 words | 8 sources | APA | 2010 | BD

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This essay analyzes Kierkegaard's novel "Either/Or" in order to judge how successful the author is in his refutation of Hegel's claim that "the inner is the outer and the outer is the inner". It first of all makes the point clear that when Hegel suggests a correspondence between the inner and the outer, it is meant to be a material correspondence. To elaborate on this point, it shows how this correspondence is central to the Western tradition, relating the dualism of Descartes, empirical skepticism, the epistemology of Kant, and finally the historical dialectic of Hegel. This is followed by a critical analysis of the novel. It is shown how the author mimics the Hegelian dialectic by first of presenting a thorough account of an aesthetical point of view, followed by a comprehensive account of the ethical perspective. The essay argues that Kierkegaard is successful in showing that there is no correspondence between these two perspectives on the material plane. It then discusses the final and crucial part of the novel in which the two perspectives are shown to be resolved through a "leap to faith". It is made clear that this resolution is not part of Hegel's claim.

From the Paper:

"In a sense Kierkegaard's Either/Or is a systematic refutation of Hegel's thesis that the inner life potentially corresponds with the outer life. Hegel believed that the correspondence is realized through reason, and through the rational advance of human society. As a Christian, Kierkegaard also believed in the same correspondence, in the sense that everything is ultimately submerged in the unity of God. However, his particular refutation is against the material correspondence proposed by Hegel. It must be remembered that Either/Or is a novel, and the position stated in the preface is that of an anonymous discoverer of the documents presented in the book. This protagonist is a sceptic who is responding to the views presented in the first two documents, where the first champions the inner, or aesthetic, point of view, while the latter the outer, or ethical. But it is only through the third document, presenting the religious point of view of the friend of the Judge, that resolution is achieved, and the position of Kierkegaard is made thereby."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Ferguson, H. (1995). Melancholy and the critique of modernity: Soren Kierkegaard's religious psychology. London: Routledge.
  • Ferreira, M. J. (2008). Kierkegaard. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Gardiner, P. L. (1988). Kierkegaard. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hannay, A. (1982). Kierkegaard. London: Routledge.
  • Hannay, A. and Marino, D. (1998). The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Kierkegaard's refutation of Hegel in "Either/Or" (2011, February 27) Retrieved April 18, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Kierkegaard's refutation of Hegel in "Either/Or"" 27 February 2011. Web. 18 April. 2024. <>