A philosophical work by Soren Kierkegaard (written under the pseudonym Johannes de Silentio) which uses multiple tellings of the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18) to refute the ideas of Hegel.

Hegelian philosophy stresses the importance of surrendering oneself to universal ethics (clearly assuming that such a thing as a universal ethic exists) and, by extension, subordinating one's own desires to the wishes of the group; the elimination of individuality. Hegel had a major influence on the development of fascism and bolshevism.

Kierkegaard uses the story of Abraham and Isaac to present a challenge to the idea of universal ethics. To murder one's own son contradicts the universal ethic that such murder is wrong. But, theoretically, obeying God absolutely is definitively "good" (as God sets the standards of "good"). Abraham believes himself to be performing the greatest possible good by obeying his own conception of the highest source of ethics (i.e. God).

Kierkegaard lays bare the essential contradiction of Hegel's ideas: any one person's perception of a universal ethic could be (internally to that person) "higher" than the consensus universal ethic, and therefore that person's ethical actions would violate the universal ethic. Hence "universal ethic" is an oxymoron and individuality will always defeat conformity.

Also, Kierkegaard suggests the defeat of rationalism and logic (universal ethics) by the irrational, the illogical, the emotional, the spiritual (subjective perception and motivation); the overthrow of mechanism by essential humanity.

It should be noted that debate as to the "meaning" of Fear and Trembling continues to this day.


Fear and Trembling: Preface
Fear and Trembling: Prelude
Fear and Trembling: A Panegyric Upon Abraham
Fear and Trembling: Problemata: Preliminary Expectoration

to be noded as I get around to it

Fear and Trembling: Problemata: Problem 1
Fear and Trembling: Problemata: Problem 2
Fear and Trembling: Problemata: Problem 3
Fear and Trembling: Epilogue