Lecture 3.3 Kierkegaard’s View of Socrates

The goal in this lecture is to have a look at Kierkegaard’s understanding of Socrates and to see where he agrees with Hegel and where he disagrees. We look at Kierkegaard’s analysis of Socrates’ daimon, the trial and conviction of Socrates, the relation of Socrates to the Sophists and to the later schools of philosophy. An account is also given of how Kierkegaard was quite exercised by Hans Lassen Martensen and his lectures at the University of Copenhagen. We explore Kierkegaard’s response to Martensen’s article on Faust, and Kierkegaard’s two satirical works that were aimed at Martensen and his students, namely, The Conflict between the Old and the New Soap Cellars and Johannes Climacus or De Omnibus dubitandum est. Finally, we also introduce a lesser-known Danish figure, Andreas Frederik Beck, who wrote the first book review of The Concept of Irony—a review that gives us a brief snapshot into the contemporary assessment of the work and also affords some insight into Kierkegaard’s view of it when we see his negative reaction to Beck’s comments.

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