A Kierkegaard Anthology - Study Guide Chapter 7, Stages on Life's Way, Studies by Sundry Persons Summary & Analysis

Robert W. Bretall
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In 1845, only two years following Either/Or and ten months prior to the publication of Fragments, came the last of the aesthetic writings, Stages on Life's Way, that Kierkegaard composed. It relates to Either/Or because it divides "spheres of existence." But Either/Or focused on the aesthetic and the ethical (the religions is merely foreshadowed). However, Stages discuss three realms explicitly: the aesthetic, the ethical and the religious. These are all concrete forms of existence, to which Kierkegaard ties pleasure—perdition, action-victory, and suffering. Either/Or had the defect of ending with the ethical, but in Stages Kierkegaard's thought is more mature and the religious, in Kierkegaard's worse, "is given its rights."

One might worry that the religious is featured too prominently. The first piece, Guilty/Not...

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