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Overview (3)

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark
Died in Copenhagen, Denmark
Birth NameSøren Aabye Kierkegaard

Mini Bio (1)

Søren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher who imposed restrictions on his own love and emotions and declared the idea of subjectivity as truth, is now recognized as the founder of Existentialism, an influential author in psychology, and an important figure in Postmodernism.

He was born Søren Aabye Kierkegaard on May 5, 1813, into a wealthy family in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was the youngest of seven children. His father, named Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard, was married to his 3rd cousin Ane Sorensdatter Lund, and was a rigid religious man who suffered from depression and guilt, which he imposed on his children. From the young age Kierkegaard was disabled and suffered from complications after his fall from a tree when he was a boy. He was also strongly influenced by his father's depression and stubborn belief in a curse that all his children were doomed to die by the age of 33.

His philosophy and writing was also influenced by Regine Olsen, the love of his life and the muse for his writings. He and Regine met in 1837, while they were students at University, and they became engaged in 1840, but he harbored some undisclosed secret of dark and personal nature. A year later he chose to break off the engagement rather than to reveal his secret to Regine. She married another man and refused to see Kierkegaard ever again. He sank into psychoanalysis of the ethical and emotional aspects of breaking off in his book 'Repetition' (1843) which he published under the pseudonym Constantin Constantinus. At that time he was suffering from melancholy, probably a form of depression coming from his own trauma and disability. In his writings Kierkegaard used the word 'marriage' as a trope for the universal demands made by social mores.

Kierkegaard's works deal with problems of choice in many aspects, ranging from emotions and feelings of an individual, to religious, philosophical, and political aspects of human society. Kierkegaard offered no solutions but rather a variety of views on individual, social and political conundrums and unresolvable complexities, ranging from an "Attack on" approach to an observationist position. His masterpiece and arguably the greatest work, 'Either/Or', was written during his stay in Berlin in 1842, then was revised and completed in Copenhagen in the fall of the same year. In it Kierkegaard plays with his three incarnations, philosopher named "A", Judge Williams, author of rebuttals to "A", and editor named Victor Eremita. It was published in 1843 and found little understanding among the contemporaries. His other important works are 'The Concept of Irony' (1841), 'Fear and Trembling' (1843), and 'Works of Love' (1847), among others. In his later works Kierkegaard analyzed the detrimental effect of organized religion on individuals in Denmark caused by rigidity of established state church. His analysis of 'fear', 'sin', 'guilt', and other tools of control over minds, as well as his thoughts on the decay of the Danish State Church and failures of applied religion lead to his statement that "the human race has outgrown Christianity" which ignited attacks on him from many angered critics.

Kierkegaard published his works under various pseudonyms. He used several pseudonyms to create an imitation of a discussion between several pseudo-authors, all of those in fact being one man, Kierkegaard. For that reason and also because of his complex personality and intricate thought and reasoning, he made it difficult to distinguish between what he truly believed and what he was making up for a mere argument. He died in a hospital on November 11, 1855, of complications from his fall from a tree in his childhood, and was laid to rest in the Assistens Cemetery in Copenhagen, Denmark. His works were little known outside Denmark until professional translations were made in the 1920s. His works has been extremely influential ever since. His arguments against objectivity and emphasis on skepticism, especially concerning social morals and norms, laid groundwork for the 20th century Existentialism and Postmodernism.

Along with Friedrich Nietzsche, he is regarded as the father of Existentialism and existential psychology. Kierkegaard's influence may be found in many art movements, such as Dada, Futurism, and other movements in modern art. He influenced Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Buber, Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Franz Kafka and John Updike among many other thinkers and writers.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Trivia (1)

Considered the father of existential philosophy.

Personal Quotes (2)

[on life and death] Life can only be understood backward; it must be lived forward.
People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

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