International Society for Philosophers

International Society for Philosophers

Wisdom begins with wonder

PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS                   ISSN 2043-0728


Issue number 118 29 June 2006


I. 'Three Russian Thinkers' by Valentin Bazhanov, Aza Takho-Godi and Maria Bocharova

II. 'Experiencing the integrity of life as experience of world in man's existence' by Nikolai Karpitsky

III. 'Pseudonymous Connections: Notes towards a reading of Kierkegaard' by Will Brown



Following an excellent suggestion by Pathways student Michael Ward, I have created a new permanent topic on the Pathways online conference for any ideas or debates arising from articles published in the Philosophy Pathways e-journal.

All Pathways students, as well as members of the International Society for Philosophers (ISFP) or Philosophical Society of England (PSOE) are invited to participate in the Pathways online conference. To join the ISFP or PSOE please complete the application form at https:---

Nikolay Vasiliev, Alexey Losev and Anatoly Rapoport are the latest Russian thinkers to be added to Dmitry Olshansky's growing 'Gallery of Russian Thinkers' at https:--- Alongside the essays by philosophers at Ulyanovsk State University and Moscow State University, I am publishing an article by Dr Nikolai Karpitsky, senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy of the Siberian State Medical University which explores a topic at the interface between phenomenology and abnormal psychology.

Also in this issue is an essay by Will Brown which seeks to relate the 'writings' of two of Kierkegaard's pseudonymous authors, Johannes Climacus and Vigilius Haufniensis.

Geoffrey Klempner



Nikolay Vasiliev

Nikolay Alexandrovich VASILIEV (29.06.1880, Kazan -- 31.12.1940, Kazan) -- Russian logician, philosopher, psychologist, poet, the forerunner of paraconsistent and multi-valued logics.

His father was a fairly well-known mathematician Professor Alexander V. Vasiliev, his grandfather was outstanding sinologist Professor Vassily P. Vasiliev, and his great grandfather was the prominent astronomer Ivan M. Simonov, who was a close colleague of Nikolay Lobachevsky.

Aiming to be a psychologist, Vasiliev studied at the medical faculty (1904) and the historico-philological faculty of Kazan University (1906), where he was honored with candidate degree. Afterwards he was offered the position of privat-dozent (Associate Prof.) at Kazan University.

As a university student Vasiliev was enthusiastic about symbolist style poetry and published some books of verses of his own (for example,'The longing for eternity') and translations of the poetry of Emile Verhaeren and Algernon Swinburne.

Although Vasiliev outlined the logic of relatives paper by Charles Peirce as early as in 1897, it was only in 1908 that he entirely devoted himself to logic.

On May 18, 1910 Vasiliev presented a lecture (published in October that same year) 'On Partial Judgements, on the Triangle of Opposites, on the Law of Excluded Fourth' in which he put forward for the first time ever the idea of (non-Aristotelian) logic, free of the laws of excluded middle and contradiction. Reasoning by analogy with the 'imaginary' geometry of Lobachevsky, Vasiliev called his novel logic 'imaginary', for he assumed it was valid for the worlds where the above-mentioned laws did not hold, worlds with beings having other types of sensations. He distinguished levels of logical reasoning, and introduced the notion of metalogic.

Vasiliev spent 1912-13 in Western Europe (mostly Germany) and published his salient works Logic and Metalogic and Imaginary (non-Aristotelian) logic. Vasiliev constructed non-Aristotelian logic using the concepts, and even the manner of reasoning, common to Aristotelian logic. He was aware of the achievement in mathematical logic (and even carefully studied Ernst Schroeder's works) but did not make an attempt to formalise 'imaginary' logic.

His only work in a foreign language (English) -- concise abstract of his 'imaginary logic' -- was published in Naples in 1924.

In 1914 when World War I broke out, Vasiliev was drafted into the army, where he became seriously mentally ill. Nevertheless he returned to teaching at Kazan University, but in 1922 was ousted by the new Bolshevik administration. This act aggravated his ailment: Vasiliev spent most of the following 20 years in mental hospital, and thus rescued from the Stalin regime. He died on December 31, 1940. The place where he was buried is unknown.

The pioneer ideas of Vasiliev were rediscovered in the early 1960s and they formed a basis mainly for paraconsistent logic. Some well-known scholars in 1960s consider his work to be the precursor of multi-valued logic. The informal style and conceptual riches of Vasiliev's works make them especially valuable.

By Vasiliev:

Vasiliev N.A. Imaginary Logic. Moscow, 1989 (in Russian).

On Vasiliev:

Arruda A.I. 'Survey of Paraconsistent Logic'. In: Mathematical logic in Latin America Eds. Arruda A.I., Chuaqui R., Da Costa N.C.A., Amsterdam: New York: Oxford. North-Holland, 1980, pp.1-41.

Bazhanov V.A. N.A. Vasiliev (1880 -- 1940). Moscow, 1988 (in Russian).

Bazhanov V.A. 'The Fate of One Forgotten Idea: N.A.Vasiliev and His Imaginary Logic'. In: Studies in Soviet Thought, 1990, vol.39, N3-4, pp.333-334

Bazhanov V.A. 'Charles Peirce's Influence on Logical Ideas of N.A. Vasiliev'. In: Modern Logic, 1992, vol. 3. N 1, pp. 48-56

Bazhanov V.A. 'The Origins and Emergence of Non-Classical Logic in Russia (Nineteenth Century until the Turn of the Twentieth Century)'. In: Zwischen traditioneller und moderner Logik. Nichtklassiche Ansatze. Mentis-Verlag, Paderborn, 2001, S.205 -- 217.

(c) Valentin A. Bazhanov 2006

Valentin A. Bazhanov, Ph.D., Prof. Ulyanovsk State University (Russia)



Alexey Losev

Alexey Feodorovich LOSEV (10.09.1893, Novocherkassk -- 24.05. 1988, Moscow) was born on the Don in the city of Novocherkassk in the family of a teacher at a gymnasium. In 1911, he finished the classical gymnasium with a gold medal. In 1915 he graduated from Moscow University in two of the sections: philosophy and classical philology. He also received professional musical education and studied mathematics. He was invited to stay in the university to prepare for his future status of Professor (1915Š1919). He was a member of the religious-philosophical society dedicated to the memory of Vladimir Solovyov, Free Academy of Spiritual Culture, founded by N.A. Berdyaev. He had personal relations and collaborated with S.N. Bulgakov, I.A. Ilin, S.L. Frank, Father Pavel Florensky (Father Pavel married Losev with V.M. Sokolova in 1922). Losev was elected Professor at the University of Nizhniy Novgorod (1919), and confirmed his status in Moscow (1923).

In the twenties he was a professor of the Moscow Conservatory, full member of State Academy of Artistic Sciences, and Professor of the State Institute of Musical Science. He was first published in 1916. >From 1927 to 1930, he published some of his works in the eight-volume edition: The Ancient Cosmos and Modern Science, The Philosophy of Name, The Dialectics of the Artistic Forms, The Dialectics of Number in Plotinus, Criticism of Platonism by Aristotle, Music as a Subject of Logic, Essays on Classical Symbolism and Mythology, The Dialectics of Myth.

The Russian emigration perceived the publication of Losev's books as a testimony of great spiritual life, which had managed to stay alive during the period of the Soviet Russia. In the Soviet Union, after the publication of The Dialectics of Myth, Losev was persecuted and condemned during the XVI Congress of the Communist Party as a class enemy. He was arrested on April 18, 1930 and condemned to 10 years in the camps. His wife was arrested June 5 1930 and condemned to 5 years in the camps. As a prisoner he served his sentence in Svir and in the construction of the canal of Belomorsk. In the British Journal of Philosophical Studies, in the overview dedicated to Russian Philosophy, N. Duddington informed readers of the 'bad news' about the one real philosopher Losev, 'that Soviet can boast': because of his books, 'profound metaphysical treatises', declared as counterrevolutionary, 'he has been exiled to northern Siberia' (1931. Vol 6. 226).

In 1933, after the end of the construction of the canal, Losev was released following his invalidity (he became nearly blind). He was rehabilitated in his civil rights, and his guilt removed. However, the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party forbade his lessons of philosophy and only allowed ancient aesthetics and mythology. Nevertheless, he was not published. Losev translated Plato, Plotinus, Sextus Empiricus, Proclus, Nicolaus Cusanus, taught ancient literature, used to go the provinces to participate in examinations and returned then to Moscow. In 1941, he suffered a new catastrophe -- the destruction of the house where he lived in the 13 Vozdvizhenka Street as the result of a bomb explosion.

In 1942 he was appointed a professor of the Philosophical Faculty of the Moscow State University, but was expelled following his denunciation as an idealist. In 1943, he was entitled the status of Doctor of Philological Sciences Honoris Causa. He was transferred to the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute, where he taught at the Department of Philology until the end of his life.

Losev had the opportunity to publish again after Stalin's death. The list of his works includes more than 800 titles, out of which more than forty are monographs. His archive, from which new works are being published, has been partly saved. Because of Losev's life activity, eight new volumes appeared in the ten books on History of Ancient Aesthetics (1963Š1994), out of which volumes IŠVI received the State Prize of the Russian Federation in 1986. It is necessary to also consider The aesthetics of Renaissance (1978, 1982, 1998) and Hellenistic-Roman Aesthetics IŠII A.D. (1979, 2002), which enlarges the huge number of Losev's works related to aesthetics.

His studies on name (see The Philosophy of the Name, Thing and Name, The Quintessence of Thing) are based on the formulation of Saint Gregory Palamas's doctrine of energitismus -- the power of energy (perception of God's essence through its energy), as well as on the Russian religious-philosophical movement of the beginnings of the XX century, the glorification of name or Onomatodoxia. He lectured on themes related to the worship of God's name, from both historical and philosophical-analytical planes ('The Person and the Absolute').

Losev is a creator of the philosophy of myth, understood as substantial reality and space. Myth is an energetic self-assertion of the individual, image of the personality, the representation of the personality, through the history of such personality, characteristic to any epoch and not just ancient.

His encyclopedic characteristic is not the result of formal erudition or the mechanical juncture of different sciences. His philosophy is rooted in the understanding of unity, put forward by Vladimir Solovyov. Still a young man, Losev wrote his work Supreme synthesis as happiness and knowledge (published in 2005), in which he underlined the principles of unity among science, philosophy, religion, art and morals. The perception of the world as a whole stayed with him all through his life. His main thought concerned the union between idea and matter, spirit and matter, existence and consciousness. The idea spiritualizes matter; matter creates the nature of the idea, in other words, it materializes the spirit. This means, 'not only existence defines consciousness, but consciousness defines existence as well' (Form, Style, expression. 1995. p. 341).

Losev became very well known as an author of philosophical prose, which he began to write while still in the camps. It is quite possible to carry out many analytical comparisons between his books from the 1920s and his prose. We can very clearly appreciate that his prose is much more expressive, politically acute and poisonous. If it had been accidentally found, its author would have definitely been sent to the camps again (see the full collection of his prose, youth diaries, letters, and poems in his two-volume edition: A.F. Losev Exiled to the XX century Moscow, 2002). The very well known American researcher of Losev's prose Professor Edith Clowes (University of Kansas) underlines the tragic aspect of Losev's heroes, reflected in the destruction of the culture of the country where they opposed stronger and more powerful forces than those of their own philosophy. 'Philosophy as a public discourse would die in Stalinist Russia.'

He was interested in the nature of the mathematical and linguistic symbols. He insisted on the study of the semantic and the structural sense of the language, he criticized non-semantic structuralism, discussed the problem of the possibility of a rigid axiomatic in linguistics. Based on his philosophical theory of language Losev looked at the transition of name and word in the process of life and social existence, transferring the communication and interpretation acts to the first plane. The eminent linguist and logician Sebastian Shaumian (Yale University) considers that 'Losev's law of polysemy is the most important finding beginning from the 1930s, when the basic understandings and principles of the classical semiotical paradigms were formulated'. 'After all, our conscience does not accept reality per se, but through the prism of communicative and factual interpretations being the constituents of a dialectical unity which otherwise could coincide and contradict each other'.

The symbol, according to Losev, came to be the sense and abstraction of the thing. In addition, in this communion endless symbolism is present. The symbol of a thing is reflected in its structure, energized by infinite appearances individual manifestations of the structure. The symbol of a thing qua sign, having nothing to do with the content of singleness, which is considered here. In the end, the symbol, occupied its own lawful place among other literature and art principles and categories in Losev's books. There was a huge appendix of bibliography in different languages included in the book, ordered in a special way, explained and rubricated, which consisted of a full separated volume. This very interesting work has not been published yet. Only a minimal part of it was published in 1976.

The house where he lived during the last fifty years of his ninety-five years life is a monument of the history of our culture and has a memorial plaque 'House of A.F. Losev'. From 2004, it has also housed the State Library of the History of Russian Philosophy and Culture.

Losev's books in English:

Losev A. The Dialectics of Myth, 2003

Losev A. Aristotle (Man Through the Ages), 2000

on Losev:

Clowes. A.W. Fiction's overcoat. Russian Literary Culture and the question of Philosophy, 2004.

Gurko H. Divine Onomatology: Naming God in Imyaslavie, Symbolism, and Deconstruction (Sergey Bulgakov, Alexi Losev, Pavel Florensky, Vyacheslav Ivanov), 2006

(c) Aza A. Takho-Godi 2006

Aza A. Takho-Godi, Ph.D., Prof. Moscow State University



Anatoly Rapoport

Anatoly Borisovich RAPOPORT (20.05.1911, Lozovaya) -- Russian and American mathematician and philosopher. He is a pioneer and leading figure of the systems sciences, studies in conflict and cooperation, and peace research.

Rapoport came to the U.S.A. in 1922, where he attended public schools. Later he studied music, first in Chicago and then in Vienna (1929-34), where he concluded his studies of composition, piano, and conducting at the State Academy of Music and Performing Arts. During his studies he was correspondent of the American journal Musical Courier. Subsequently he performed as a concert pianist and lectured on the semantics of music in Europe and the Americas. In 1941 Rapoport received a Ph.D. degree in mathematics at the University of Chicago. His first work dealt with a phenomenon analogous to what, in the context of human systems, would occupy him for most of his professional life: Conflict and cooperation. His research relates with Lorenz investigation of aggression at the same time.

Early on, his interest was very much a meta-theoretical, epistemological one. This led to his books Science and the Goals of Man (1950) and Operational Philosophy (1953), which address the question of whether human or social values can have a common basis, independently of modes of thought and feeling that originate from different cultures. Rapoport has spearheaded many scientific innovations, including the application of mathematical methods, first to biology and later to the social sciences. His philosophical position is related to positivism and pragmatism without being confined by these categories. In his search for invariants Rapoport has cultivated an extensive dialogue across disciplines. In 1954, he founded the Society for General Systems Research, later renamed International Society for the Systems Sciences. Essentially this society has aimed at overcoming the growing isolation of specialized disciplines.

>From 1955 to 1970 Rapoport was Professor of Mathematical Biology and Senior Research Mathematician at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. That phase bred seminal contributions to game theory which were condensed in six books, including Fights, Games, and Debates (1960), probably his most widely read opus. Referencing to Rapoport, in 'Postmodern condition' J.-F. Lyotard argues that in the game with uncompleted information one looks for additional and probable resources, but to receive a result in the games with complete information one should re-construct the same data into another order. (La condition postmoderne, Paris: Minuit, 1979, p. 125). No doubt that this Rapoport's 'method' looks like what we know in postmodern philosophy as 'deconstruction', i.e. reorganization of discourse to discover a new meaning.

Since 1970, the University of Toronto has been Rapoport's academic base, where he has operated both as Professor of Psychology and Mathematics and Professor for Peace and Conflict Studies. He has gone on to deepen much of his earlier work in later studies, e.g. in (1) the application of mathematical methods to the humanities (Mathematical Methods in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1984;), (2) general semantics, treated from an evolutionist perspective (Semantics, 1975), (3) game theory (The 2 x 2 Game, with M. Geyer and D. Gordon, 1976), (4) systems theory (General System Theory, 1984), (5) decision theory (Decision Theory and Decision Behavior, 1989).

In his article 'Dream as a semiotic object' (1998) published in Lotman's collection of Tartu Semiotic School Rapoport applies his general semantics to the dreams interpretation. He looks to find the meaning of dream that he calls 'rationality', and which constitutes dream as an unconscious message. He develops his conception of semiotic structure of mentality in his further work What is rationality? (2002).

by Anatoly Rapoport:

Rapoport A. Science and the Goals of Man, 1950

Rapoport A. Operational Philosophy, 1953; (also in German)

Rapoport A. Fights, Games, and Debates, 1960

Rapoport A. Strategy and Conscience, 1964

Rapoport A. Prisoner's Dilemma (with A.M. Chammah), 1965

Rapoport A. Two-Person Game Theory, 1966

Rapoport A. N-Person Game Theory, 1970

Rapoport A. The Big Two, 1971

Rapoport A. Conflict in Man-made Environment, 1974

Rapoport A. Semantics, 1975; (also in German)

Rapoport A. Mathematical Methods in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1984; (also in German)

Rapoport A. General System Theory, 1986; (also in German)

Rapoport A. The Origins of Violence, 1989; (also in German)

Rapoport A. Decision Theory and Decision Behavior, 1989; 1998

Rapoport A. Peace, an Idea Whose Time Has Come, 1993; (also in German and Russian)

Rapoport A. Certainties and Doubts, 2000

Rapoport A. Skating on Thin Ice, 2001

Rapoport A. Conversations with Three Russians -- Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Lenin. A Systemic View on Two Centuries of Societal Evolution, 2005

Rapoport A., Geyer M., D. Gordon The 2 x 2 Game, 1976

Rapoport Anatol, Rapoport Anthony, Canada and the World, 1992

(c) Maria Bocharova 2006

Maria Bocharova, M.Phil. Moscow State University


Thanks to:

Markus Schwaninger, Ph.D., Prof. University of St. Gallen, Switzerland




Man lives in the world. However, in the phenomenological sense the world is discovered through the human being, rather than on the contrary, and it is discovered in a particular experience -- in experiencing the integrity of life. It is here that the primary principles of the description of the world are found.

Thus, in order to detect the fundamental principle of the image of the world in human existence, it is necessary to turn to the phenomenological analysis of experiencing the integrity of life per se, which is such a usual and common reality that it can be noticed only in the situation of its deprivation.

The deprivation of the integrity of life is shown as absurdity of existence in existentialism. Absurdity means the pure inanity of suffering, from which only values conveying life's integrity and making it senseful can save. It is in striving for this integrity of life in order to 'be at home everywhere', that Heidegger sees the main spirit of philosophy.

W. Frankl psychologically interprets the absurdity of being as an existential vacuum caused by the deprivation of the value of the meaning of life. In this tradition, the description of deprivation of experiencing the integrity of life from S. Kierkegaard to modern existential psychology embraces only the level of value. Here I turn away from the side of value and try to look at a more primary level of life -- the very phenomenal flow of life as such, on which the deprivation of integrity of life experience becomes total irrational fear rather than existentialist absurdity.

The first experience of irrational fear which is familiar to almost everyone is the children's fear of darkness. The cosmography of a child, who does not understand what is possible in the world or what is not, has not yet acquired stability. For him the primary world is always consecrated, and as the darkness comes, usual things disappear and then anything may happen. This irrational fear bursts out every time when we lose the feeling of our presence in the world and stop perceiving its laws which delimit the habitual and unhabitual, the possible and the impossible.

In the first stage of immersion into irrational fear, the destruction of the picture of the world takes place. In phenomenological terms, consciousness changes -- its intentional flow fades away. All kinds of noematic contents stop being perceived as reality, and intentions, losing their own directivity, turn out to be in specific stupor, thereby in self-contradiction (as they do not have another way of existence but directivity).

Inn the second stage, irrational fear threatens to generate anything possible from itself. Any fantasy, any delirium begins to acquire the features of reality. Any phantasms of human intelligence threaten to materialize and there is no protection from this threat. However these terrifying fantasies do not produce fear -- they are only the accidental epiphenomenon. Everyday fear comes from fantasies, expectations or other representations. By contrast, in this case the fear is primary.

Irrational fear is impossible to grasp in classic philosophical discourse as simple relation of noesis and noema. It does have any concrete motivation, but neither does it open any noematic contents, nor is it predetermined by general emotional mood (by predominate intentional flow). In other words, irrational fear cannot be described by noema, intention or its motivation.

Irrational fear blocks intention not by exterior motivation, but directly from within. Being deprived of the directing impulse, intention denies itself. This means that irrational fear comes out not in any particular intention pointing to it, but as something immanent to each intention in the flow of consciousness.

An intention of consciousness does not move independently 'by itself', but only in a given environment. This environment may be construed as the complicity of all intentions with each other, forming the unity of consciousness (in buddhistic Abhidharma -- prapti -- not psychic sanscara of dharma drawing the flow of dharma toward the one santana).

Any experience of consciousness always opens as a whole with all consciousness. It is impossible to have two fragments of experiences of simultaneous intentions each 'by itself', though these intentions can be irrelevant to each other (i.e. not motivate each other at all).

The unity of consciousness is found not in particular intention, but in the unity of experience, immanent to every intention of the phenomenal flow of life. Experiencing the integrity of life opens not at the level of any exterior concept of intentions (for example, through common or reciprocal motivation), but at the level of their internal content -- as the immanent experience of every intention.

Irrational fear lies here, where the experience of the unity of consciousness is found -- in the complicity of intentions of the flow of life reflected in the immanent contents of every intention.

Primarily irrational fear causes the inner stupor of all the intentions of the flow of life expressed in the immanent contents of all the intentions. At this stage disintegration of the experience of the integrity of life arises: Consciousness begins to break up into fragments, and this completely anticipates the experience of death. Nevertheless, though irrational fear completely absorbs fear of death into itself, it is not reduced only to that.

At the second stage irrational fear manifests itself as the horror that 'anything possible' can happen. The destroyed unity of the world threatens the new arbitrary combination in something absolutely extraneous, where the impossible becomes the possible, and there is no protection from it. At this stage the strongest fantasies threaten to become embodied in reality.

However the biggest horror indicates that the disintegrated vital world turns into a closed schizophrenic world, isolated from the vital worlds of other people. This isolation is internally experienced as location in hell, but it will be empirically perceived as the madness of the insane by the casual observer.

The principles of describing the habitual everyday world of a person are associatively connected with experiencing the integrity of the world. Namely they defend against the irrational fear and from slipping down to schizophrenic isolation; therefore the strong stability of cosmography increases the security of a person. Guarding these principles needs instinct psychological self-protection, which prevents a person from overstepping the borders of his own cosmography.

However there is force which does not simply serve as barrier to irrational fear, but actively displaces it; this is the intuition of the presence of another vital world. In this intuition the inner experience of the integrity of the other world is transmitted so that it allows the restoration of its own experience of the unity of life.

Under the condition that principles of cosmography are general for different people, they begin associatively to connect with the contents of the intuition of presence. Accordingly, collective cosmography is perceived as the most reliable protection from the invasion of fear, and any kind of perceived inconsistency with the collective cosmography generates the feeling of defenselessness from irrational fear. That is why any inconsistency of a person with the principles of collective cosmography is perceived in society as mental or psychic inferiority, and this social disapproval is motivated by the fear of defenselessness.

A person turns out to be attached to the collective cosmography, which moves towards him in the system of consciousness like a filter, separating all that is basically new in perception and, thereby hindering creative self-realization.

The real world outside this system of filters is endlessly diverse and allows the countless ways of world view and cosmography. However, the transition to a basically different view of the world founded on other principles of cosmography faces a natural barrier -- that is irrational fear.

It is possible to pass this barrier only by having sufficient will-power, which prevents self-destruction when the the experience of the integrity of the world is lost. Will cannot be understood here as one more intention alongside with others, for when the experience of the integrity of life is lost, any intention stops motivating others, and, accordingly, the will's 'intention' would turn out to be isolated and helpless. In another word, resisting irrational fear of will can be revealed only in the very immanent contents of intention, as a force, which is capable of restoring the experience of the integrity of the world. This is the force that prevents a person from perishing at the moment when irrational fear destroys his world.

Only through passing the border of irrational fear is it possible to open up to basically other levels of consciousness. In practice it is very frequent for a mystical experience to be understood not as the real transition to another level of consciousness, but only as a change of perception at its own level. For example, addiction of drugs, which basically changes the disposition of consciousness, does not actually carry it beyond the border, but only gives another form of the perception. The same can be said about quite a number of mystic psychotechnics. All this has no relation with the real extension of consciousness which is impossible without controlling irrational fear.

The spontaneous break-through of irrational fear, which deprives the possibility of protection in collective cosmography, can cause a defensive reaction in the simplification of the picture of world: as the more simple the world view is, the more reliable its laws are. As a result, a person falls into the simplified world, losing any connection with the collective cosmography. This autistic closure in his own world surrounded by people is also perceived as madness, though many who are 'normal' are exactly the same as 'mad', who are only pretending to be normal.

Hence, we should distinguish the autistic world of the mad built for their own psychic self-protection from the autistic world of the mad, which arises spontaneously as a result of the destruction of the experience of the unity of the world. The latter carries a devilish character.

Corresponding to the difference between these two types of autistic worlds of the mad, one may differentiate two types of totalitarian sect -- the first type having a rational character, offering a simplified picture of world, in the context of which arises the complete control of the consciousness of the followers and their isolation from the rest of the world; while the second type presents a clean break-through of into irrational, and in this case there is no one able to control anything, completely putting himself under the control of otherworldly forces.

Thus opens up a view of the transition from the analysis of individual consciousness to the analysis of mass consciousness, where these two types of insanity can create different hybrids in the form of various socio-political chimeras.

(c) Nikolai Karpitsky 2006





     My main thought was that, because of the copiousness of
     knowledge, people in our day have forgotten what it means
     'to exist', and what 'inwardness' is, and that the
     misunderstanding between speculative thought and
     Christianity could be explained by that. I now resolved to
     go back as far as possible in order to arrive too soon at
     what it meant to exist religiously, not to mention
     Christianly-religiously, and in that way leave dubieties
     behind me. If people have forgotten how to exist
     religiously, they probably have forgotten what it means to
     exist humanly; therefore this would have to be brought out.
     But this must not on any account be done didactically,
     because the misunderstanding would in a new
     misunderstanding instantly make capital of the explanatory
     attempt, as if existing consisted in coming to know
     something about a particular point. Only the person who has
     an idea of a misunderstanding's tenacity in assimilating
     even the most rigorous attempt at explanation, yet
     remaining a misunderstanding, only he will be aware of the
     difficulty of an authorship in which care must be taken
     with every word, and every word must go though the process
     of double-reflection.

     (Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Hong, p. 249-50)
     So, then, I resolved to begin, and the first thing I wanted
     to do in order to start from the bottom was 'to have the
     relation between the esthetic and the ethical come into
     existence in an existing individuality'. The task was set,
     and I foresaw that the work would be copious enough, and
     above all I would have to be prepared to remain still at
     times when the spirit would not support me with pathos. But
     what happened then I shall tell in an appendix to this

     (Ibid. p. 251)
     What happens? As I go on this way, Either/ Or is published.
     What I aimed to do had been done right here. I became very
     unhappy at the thought of my solemn resolution, but then I
     thought once again: After all, you have not promised anyone
     anything; as long as it is done, that is just fine. But
     things became worse for me, because step by step, just as I
     wanted to begin the task of carrying out my resolution by
     working, there appeared a pseudonymous book that did what
     I wanted to do. There was something strangely ironic about
     it all.

     (Ibid, p. 251)

In the beginning there was this collection of authors, the last one of the group being Johannes Climacus, who wrote, among other things, a big book he called the Concluding Unscientific Postscript. He had this idea that he wanted to tell people what it means to exist and what inwardness is. Then, a strange thing happened; just as he was about to begin laying out his idea, one of these other authors beat him to the punch, so to speak, and put out a book that said what he wanted to say. This did not happen once, but repeatedly, with a different author each time.

Now, at this point, were I JC, my paranoia would be in full bloom; it would be as if someone were reading my mind and playing games with me, or, even worse, it could be seen that such an event, being impossible, meant that the whole thing had to be a dream of some sort... Thoughts such as this might come light, 'What if I were really only a figment of another's imagination, a creation come to life sans substance, that I am not real, that I am a tool and nothing more.' But no, JC, showing the coolness of that proverbial cucumber, thought of it as ironic.

Well, what if the thought of being a tool were really the fact of it, and that he, like the rest of the authors who were reading his mind, were the creation of a singularly fertile mind making the connections JC was sensing, that he, JC, was really nothing more than a tool; that he was nothing more than a character inhabiting a world created around him for him to inhabit? What if he were the means to an end and that end coincided exactly to the end he expressed, telling people what it meant to exist, and what inwardness is? Wouldn't it be as if he were a surrogate for the intent of the author who created him? Couldn't we then say that it really was this behind the scenes author doing the speaking?

What then? Well, we cannot deny the connections because they were being made, so I would say that we would be forced to accept either one of two conclusions; that either the whole production was an abstract work and that the connections were figurative only, or that it was meant literally as an expression of the author's own experience. In either case the connections were being made, and what remains, if we are to objectively view those connections, which means not making the choice which is the correct conclusion, is to create some sort of structure to represent those connections.


The first connection I shall explore here is the one JC makes concerning one particular pseudonymous author and his book: The Concept of Anxiety by Vigilius Haufniensis (VH). Here is what JC says of that book.

     The 'Concept of Anxiety' differs essentially from the other
     pseudonymous works in that its form is direct and even
     somewhat didactic. Perhaps the author thought that at this
     point a communication of knowledge might be necessary
     before a transition could be made to inward deepening. The
     latter task pertains to someone who is presumed essentially
     to possess knowledge and who does not merely need to know
     something but rather needs to be influenced. The somewhat
     didactic form of the book was undoubtedly the reason it
     found little favor in the eyes of the assistant professors
     as compared to the other pseudonymous works.

     (Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Hong, pp. 269-70;
     Lowrie, p. 241)

JC is pushing a transition from what he calls the esthetic sphere of existence to what he calls the ethical sphere of existence, where 'inwardness' is the answer to the question of what it means 'to exist'. Inwardness is also described as an inward deepening, so I would put forth the hypothesis that the quote above is saying that the book is going to tell someone in need of making the transition what their present situation exactly is and how they got into it. In other words, the case I will make for the book itself is that it is one of telling this pre-transitioneer something about the mess he is in and how he got into that mess so that he can un-mess himself by making the transition from the esthetic sphere to the ethical sphere that JC prescribes.

If such were the case, we should expect VH to lay out this getting into the mess in such a way that JC may use those exact terms in describing getting out of the mess.

To restate, the sense of connection should be that between the two authors a larger picture is being painted. Let it be noted that while I will confine myself to the connection between VH and JC, if such connections could also be found between all of the others and JC, and, in fact, a networking between all of the authors, the total connection, whether a grand put on or an existential tour de force, would be all but undeniable.

Perhaps the issue could be decided by resorting to other books by the same author that are not pseudonymous and see of the same connection is being spoken to. If so, the evidence would be overwhelmingly in favor that the author was trying to make the connection. No attempt will be made here to answer the question of whether this connection itself is a figment of a deluded mind, but only that a connection is being made.

But I am after the JC/ VH connection here, and speculation of other connections will have to wait their turn. I would begin with the following quote, if for no other reason than it defines the meaning of transcendence to be used.

     Innocence, unlike immediacy, is not something that must
     annulled, something whose quality is to be annulled,
     something that does not properly exist ('er til'), but
     rather, when it is annulled, and as a result of being
     annulled, it for the first time comes into existence
     ('bliver til') as that is was before being annulled and
     which now is annulled. Immediacy is not annulled by
     mediacy, but when mediacy appears, in that movement it has
     annulled immediacy. The annulment of immediacy is therefore
     an immanent movement within immediacy, or it is an immanent
     movement in the opposite direction within mediacy, by which
     mediacy presupposes immediacy. Innocence is something that
     is cancelled by a transcendence, precisely because
     innocence is something (whereas the most correct expression
     of immediacy is that which Hegel uses about pure being; it
     is nothing). The reason is that when innocence is canceled
     by transcendence, something entirely different comes out of
     it, whereas mediacy is just immediacy.
     (Concept of Anxiety, Thomte, pp. 36-37)

Transcendence: Before the transcendence, Innocence is 'something' that comes to an end in the act of transcendence and 'something' 'entirely different comes out of it.' In other words, transcendence, if the subject is existence, means transcendence.

I see this as setting the rule of the qualitative change. A qualitative leap signifies that any quality that rises from the leap is a new quality and cannot be ascribed to the pre-leap condition. In effect, this rule is what keeps the esthetic and ethical spheres JC refers to separated; there is no leakage of quality from the esthetic sphere and the ethical sphere and the qualitative dialectic expresses that separation. Here is JC speaking on that subject:

     The point here as everywhere is to keep the specific
     spheres separated from one another, to respect the
     qualitative dialectic, the tug of decision that changes
     everything, so that what was the highest in another sphere
     must be absolutely rejected in this. With regard to the
     religious, the point is that this has passed through the
     (Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Hong, p. 388)

Here then, are several characteristics VH ascribes to this 'something entirely different.'

     Just as Adam lost innocence by guilt, so every man loses it
     in the same way. If it was not by guilt that he lost it,
     then it was not innocence that he lost; and if he was not
     innocent before becoming guilty, he never became guilty.
     (Concept of Anxiety, p. 35)

Guilt: That which rises from the leap is guilty. Innocent or guilty. To lose the first is to acquire the second and since the leap is absolute, as signified by being qualitative, there is a fall from innocence into guilt that is signified by a transcendence. This is a sign of what Kierkegaard calls hereditary sin, something we all 'fall' into.

     Anxiety may be compared with dizziness. He whose eye
     happens to look down into the yawning abyss becomes dizzy.
     But what is the reason for this? It is just as much in his
     own eye as in the abyss, for suppose he had not looked
     down. Hence anxiety is the dizziness of freedom, which
     emerges when the spirit wants to posit the synthesis and
     freedom looks down into its own possibility, laying hold of
     finiteness to support itself.
     (ibid. p. 61)

Finiteness: That which rises from the leap is finite. However one characterizes innocence, it cannot be characterized as finite.

     Time is, then, infinite succession; the life that is in
     time and is only of time has no present. In order to define
     the sensuous life, it is usually said that it is in the
     moment and only in the moment. By the moment, then, is
     understood that abstraction from the eternal that, if it is
     to be the present, is a parody of it. The present is the
     eternal, or rather, the eternal is the present, and the
     present is full.
     (ibid. p. 86)
     Just as (in the previous chapter) the spirit, when it is
     about to be posited in the synthesis, or, more correctly,
     when it is about to posit the synthesis as the spirit's
     (freedom's) possibility in the individuality, expresses
     itself as anxiety, so here the future in turn is the
     eternal's (freedom's) possibility in the individuality
     expressed as anxiety. As freedom's possibility manifests
     itself for freedom, freedom succumbs, and temporality
     emerges in the same was as sensuousness in its significance
     as sinfulness. Here again I repeat that this is only the
     final psychological expression for the final approximation
     to the qualitative leap.
     (ibid. p. 91)

Temporality: That which rises from the leap occupies the temporal. It's present is a parody of the present that is the eternal.

     Inwardness, certitude, is earnestness. This seems a little
     paltry. If at least I had said, it is subjectivity, the
     pure subjectivity, the 'bergreifende' (encompassing)
     subjectivity, I would have said something, something that
     no doubt would have made many earnest. However, I can also
     express earnestness in another way. Whenever inwardness is
     lacking, the spirit is finitized. Inwardness is therefore
     eternity or the constituent of the eternal in man.
     (ibid. p. 151)

Finiteness signifies the lack of inwardness, the absence of the present that is the eternal.

We can now say that the sense of self that rises from that leap is guilty, finite, temporal, and lacks inwardness.

One of the signs of the transition from the esthetic sphere to the ethical sphere is consciousness of guilt. Another sign is loss of finiteness. Another sign is transition in which the eternal is brought into the moment, trading the present of the temporal for the presence of the eternal. And SK is always talking about the transition from the esthetic to the ethical in terms of inwardness.

Using the rule of transcendence and its qualitative leap, this places the esthetic sphere between innocence and the ethical. A quality that appears in the leap from innocence and disappears in the leap out of that condition into the ethical can only signify an existential condition between the innocence and the ethical.

As stated above, my only intent here was to show the connection between two of Kierkegaard's pseudonyms, JC and VH. They have collaborated to show how the leap out of innocence creates the conditions that the leap out of the esthetic into the ethical repairs. That these two have done so without coordination is very ironic indeed. The judgment of whether or not Kierkegaard was really talking about existence and inwardness, is, of course, your choice.


Soren Kierkegaard Concluding Unscientific Postscript. Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong trs. Princeton 1992

Soren Kierkegaard Concluding Unscientific Postscript. Walter Lowrie, David F. Swenson trs. Princeton 1968

Soren Kierkegaard Concept of Anxiety. Reidar Thomte tr. Princeton 1981

(c) Will Brown 2006


© Geoffrey Klempner 2002–2020