Philosophical Fragments


Philosophical Fragments (Danish: Philosophiske Smuler eller En Smule Philosophi) was a Christian philosophic work written by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1844. It is a discussion of "how" a person arrives at Absolute Truth vs historical or philosophical truths.

Preface edit

  • Propositio: The question is asked in ignorance, by one who does not even know what can have led him to ask it.

A Project of Thought edit

  • How far does the Truth admit of being learned? (…)For what a man knows he cannot seek, since he knows it; and what he does not know he cannot seek, since he does not even know for what to seek. Socrates thinks the difficulty through in the doctrine of Recollection, by which all learning and inquiry is interpreted as a kind of remembering; one who is ignorant needs only a reminder to help him come to himself in the consciousness of what he knows. Thus the Truth is not introduced into the individual from without, but was within him.
    • p. 8

The God as Teacher and Saviour: An Essay of the Imagination edit

  • The Moment makes its appearance when an eternal resolve comes into relation with an incommensurable occasion. Unless this is realized I we shall be thrown back on Socrates, and shall then have neither the God as Teacher, nor an Eternal Purpose, nor the Moment. Moved by love, the God is thus eternally resolved to reveal himself. But as love is the motive so love must also be the end; for it would be a contradiction for the God to have a motive and an end which did not correspond. His love is a love of the learner, and his aim is to win him.
    • p. 20

The Absolute Paradox: A Metaphysical Crotchet edit

  • I always reason from existence, not toward existence, whether I move in the sphere of palpable sensible fact or in the realm of thought. I do not for example prove that a stone exists, but that some existing thing is a stone. The procedure in a court of justice does not prove that a criminal exists, but that the accused, whose existence is given, is a criminal.
    • p. 31

The Case of the Contemporary Disciple edit

  • The God has thus made his appearance as Teacher (for we now resume our story), and has assumed the form of a servant. To send another in his place, one high in his confidence, could not satisfy him; just as it could not satisfy the noble king to send in his stead even the most trusted man in his kingdom. But the God had also another reason; for between man and man the Socratic relationship is the highest and truest. If the God had not come himself, all the relations would have remained on the Socratic level; we would not have had the Moment, and we would have lost the Paradox. The God’s servant-form however is not a mere disguise, but is actual; it is not a parastatic body but an actual body; and from the hour that in the omnipotent purpose of his omnipotent love the God become a servant, he has so to speak imprisoned himself in his resolve, and is now bound to go on (to speak foolishly) whether it pleases him or no.
    • p. 42
  • If this fact has been naturalized, birth is no longer merely birth, but is at the same time a new birth, so that one who has never before been in existence is born anew -- in being born the first time. In the individual life the hypothesis of naturalization is expressed in the principle that the individual is born with faith; in the life of the race it must be expressed in the proposition that the human race, after the introduction of this fact, has become an entirely different race, though determined in continuity with the first. In that event the race ought to adopt a new name; for there is nothing inhuman about faith as we have proposed to conceive it, as a birth within a birth (the new birth); but if it were as the proposed objection would conceive it, it would be a fabulous monstrosity.
    • p. 71-72
  • A good man wishes to serve humanity by presenting a probability-proof, so as to help it accept the improbable. He is successful beyond all measure; deeply moved, he receives congratulations and addresses of thanksgiving, not only from the quality, who know
    • p. 82
  • The projected hypothesis indisputably makes an advance upon Socrates, which is apparent at every point. Whether it is therefore more true than the Socratic doctrine is an entirely different question, which cannot be decided in the same breath, since we have here assumed a new organ: Faith; a new presupposition: the consciousness of Sin; a new decision: the Moment; and a new Teacher: the God in Time. Without these I certainly never would have dared present myself for inspection before that master of Irony, admired through the centuries, whom I approach with a palpitating enthusiasm that yields to none. But to make an advance upon Socrates and yet say essentially the same things as he, only not nearly so well -- that at least is not Socratic.
    • p. 82

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