Väitöstilaisuus: Jyrki Kivelä, "On the Affinities Between Hume and Kierkegaard"; 16.3., Helsinki

Väitös: Jyrki Kivelä, teoreettinen filosofia

FL Jyrki Kivelä väittelee 16.3.2013 kello 10 Helsingin yliopiston humanistisessa tiedekunnassa aiheesta "On the Affinities Between Hume and Kierkegaard".

Väitöstilaisuus järjestetään osoitteessa Päärakennus, auditorium XII, Unioninkatu 34. Vastaväittäjänä on Professor Emeritus Russell B. Goodman, The University of New Mexico, ja kustoksena on professori Gabriel Sandu.

Väitöskirja julkaistaan sarjassa Philosophical Studies from the University of Helsinki. Väitöskirjaa myy Jyrki Kivelä. Väitöskirja on myös elektroninen julkaisu ja luettavissa

Väittelijän yhteystiedot:

Jyrki Kivelä

In this study the author discusses the historical and philosophical connections between David Hume (1711-1776) and Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Kierkegaard mainly encountered Humean ideas through the writings of Johann Georg Hamann (1730-1788) and Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (1743-1819). Hamann's and Jacobi's interpretations of Hume were at least among the influences when Kierkegaard developed his idea of paradoxical Christianity and his criticism of "Speculation".

Because Hume's discussion of miracles is a classic in the philosophy of religion and Kierkegaard is known for his idea of the absolute paradox as the object of faith and because of Kierkegaard's knowledge of the conclusion of Hume's "Of Miracles", I have found it worthwhile to compare these two terms. The idea of a miracle expressed explicitly in terms of violation of the laws or order of nature is not important to Kierkegaard. I claim that the unavoidable doubtfulness of all historical knowledge and the non-immediate meaning of personal experience are the most important philosophical reasons for Kierkegaard's tangential interest in the concept of a miracle as a philosophical problem.

The author argues that Kierkegaard's notion of ordinary belief as the opposite of doubt is at least partly analogous to Hume's notion of belief as a lively conception. Kierkegaard's belief is a terminator of doubt. Hume's custom-based belief acts in the same role when it disregards the uncertainty inherent in the conclusions drawn from our immediate experience.

The author further argues that just like the ancient fiction of substance for Hume, the notions of pure being and an absolute beginning in a logical system for Climacus refer to fictional conceptual structures. Kierkegaard argues that there can be no system of life and Hume argues that the philosophical system solving the important problem of perception yields a fictitious solution. Humean notions of true and false philosophy are discussed in this connection.

The thesis concludes with the suggestion that there is an affinity between the revocation of the Postscript and the conclusion of the first book of the Treatise. Finally, the author concludes that Kierkegaard was perhaps even profoundly inspired by the ideas present in Hume s thought. He, unlike Hume, embraced the idea of nearly miraculous personal transformation and believing in the most improbable thing. However, they shared the idea that at some basic level we are all nevertheless natural believers. They also understood the lure of abstract thought and saw the dangers of thinking in a sense too highly of philosophical enterprise itself, and agreed on the idea that it is not in fact that tautological or redundant to say that philosophers, too, are human beings.