Does it mater who asserts that philosophy begins with doubt?

Kierkegaard, S. (1985). Philosophical Fragments/Johannes Climacus : Kierkegaard’s Writings, Vol 7. (E. H. Hong & H. V. Hong, Trans.). Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

From what I think I understand of Kierkegaard I feel like I can answer this question without reading what Johannes Climacus has to say about the question. It would be something like; it doesn’t matter who said philosophy begins with doubt because no person can make you understand philosophy. It seems similar to receiving the condition from god. Johannes wonders also if this theses is something eternal that would be discovered by people all over because it is, and always has been true, or was it an individuals idea at one point in history? This sounds much like his preoccupation with the historical point of departure for an eternal consciousness. But unlike earlier, Johannes wants to become a philosopher and is searching for the answer that we as the reader understand to be pointless, but his questioning brings us some very interesting ideas.

The person who says philosophy begins with doubt must not be a child or otherwise unaware of their statement because that would make it simple chatter recited with out understanding. So who should be the person? Johannes Climacus says on page 153, “ The these then had to be of such a nature that the person who was supposed to enunciate it had to discover it, had to have talent, had to have authority.” In other words this is back to the idea that each individual must in essence own and understand completely. This is only through individual thinking, which is demonstrated in the texts as Johannes Climacus chooses to disregard all other statements about the theses and thinks on his own. In the end he comes to the conclusion that he must not dissect the meaning of the theses because to do so would destroy its ability to teach him. Because in order to understand himself he would have to ignore the teacher, in fact eliminate him and replace him. He describes the act of looking at the theses as unsheathing a blade that would destroy what was near him. I think this blade is one of contradiction, something that destroys itself if looked at from a rational point of view. We must attempt to imagine it existing in one space, sheathed as a whole, and not attempt uncover it. In the end I have understood that it doesn’t matter who asserts it, unless the person who asserts it is you because you discovered it using your talent and authority.

161-72: How is consciousness related to doubt, according to Johannes Climacus?

I found this section to be really interesting. I like, “not until the moment that ideality is brought into relation with reality does possibility appear.” It is consciousness that brings ideality and reality into relation with one another. Consciousness is then related to doubt because, “The possibility of doubt, then, lies in the consciousness, whose nature is a contradiction that is produced by a duplexity and that itself produces a duplexity.” It is the contradiction of ideality and reality in consciousness that creates the possibility of doubt, or “ the possibility of doubt resides precisely in the third.” And like a cycle this possibility for doubt appears in the moment that ideality is brought into relation with reality in the consciousness. As I have understood it, we understand the contradiction that is our consciousness because we experience the clash of the real and ideal, but even if we experience it we don’t understand it. Like the sheathed sword our bodies keep this blade of contradiction at bay. But knowing this causes doubt because we must simple be, or else destroy ourselves. He doesn’t put it in such a dramatic way, he says simply, “reflection is disinterest.”

I don’t know if I have really understood this section of the book, or if I’m just projecting something of my own onto the work, but I think I get it. But, I can’t put my finger on it and I can’t explain it. It’s as if life is magic and however much we want to be able to draw a linear diagram explaining what happens when the ideal becomes the real or via versa we can’t, and this causes doubt. I think Johannes is trying to understand this moment of collision and does so by labeling it consciousness because it an ambiguous word for something that is me. If making this assumption is intriguing and makes sense it still is balanced on the sharp point of a teeter-tooter between the chills of feeling as if one has had some incite into truth and the fear that it’s again a level in understanding far from the truth. I think this is why consciousness is doubt.

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