An Appraisal of S0ren Kierkegaard's Ethical Thought Surrounding His Concept of Decisional Process
OMBACHI, Kipkorir Nicholas
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Kierkegaard has been referred to as the father of existentialism, a view which he seems not to subscribe to. In his philosophy, he claims to have presented a clear ethical position concerning his usage of the decisional process which he presents as subjective in nature. But a closer reading of his works reveal that, he not only uses it as he claims but also, presents it as collective in nature; hence, he presents an apparent logical contradiction. This variation seemingly makes him appear to contradict himself consequently raising the question of lack of clarity. In the context of this, there is need to critically appraise Kierkegaard' s sentiments as reflected in his decisional process. In the milieu of this, the study critically appraises Kierkegaard's ethical thought surrounding his concept of the decisional process so that it can be clarified. Specific objectives were to; determine whether or not Kierkegaard's ethical philosophy is subjective or collective in nature, and examine the extent to which the' decisional process influences Kierkegaard's ethical philosophy. The conceptual framework that guided the study was adopted from Edmund Husserl's phenomenological reduction and Jean-Paul Sartre's existence as preceding essence for human beings. Common to these two is that phenomenology works with the data of consciousness and its goal is a penetration to the essence of things. The phenomena of freedom which informs Kierkegaard's ethical thought, supposedly lies in consciousness, and thus ought to be examined in such a way that its essences are revealed. The study relied on primary texts authored by Kierkegaard and secondary texts consisting of a critical survey of written works on his personality. The study engaged the critical, dialectical and evaluative methods of philosophical inquiry. The study found out that: Kierkegaard's ethical philosophy is collective in nature; and, that the decisional process influences the ethical subject to the extent that it rctualizes itself. The study recommends that; Kierkegaard's collectivity should embrace social existence to grant his ethical thought a humanistic tinge; Kierkegaard's affirmation of the universalistic character of ethics on account of its irrational character is unwarranted; and, the role of reason should be appreciated in giving the ethical individual. the bearing he seeks to pursue. The findings may enhance understanding of Kierkegaardian ethics among scholars and thus foster curriculum development. The study proposes cross-cultural philosophical dialogues as an area for further research.