Kierkegaard on Self, Ethics, and Religion: Purity or Despair

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2022.11.07 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Roe Fremstedal, Kierkegaard on Self, Ethics, and Religion: Purity or Despair, Cambridge University Press, 2022, 280pp., $99.99 (hbk) ISBN 9781316513767.

Reviewed by Jeffrey Hanson, Harvard University

Some of the most interesting and important scholarly work on Kierkegaard is playing out in conversation with contemporary problems frequently discussed in analytic philosophy. Roe Fremstedal’s Kierkegaard on Self, Ethics, and Religion is a valuable contribution to this trend. His book is not merely an exegetical undertaking but a constructive engagement with debates in moral psychology, ethics, and personal identity. In keeping with the emerging consensus, Fremstedal argues that the implications of Kierkegaard’s work go well beyond the limits of Christian theology. The book is structured in four parts that are well-integrated despite concerning a range of topics and problems. Fremstedal’s exposition is anchored in his understanding of Kierkegaard’s philosophical anthropology. The role played by despair in this anthropology serves as the basis…

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