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Sickness Unto Death
 
by
Søren Kierkegaard
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Sickness Unto Death

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  5,132 ratings  ·  166 reviews
For the first time in English the world community of scholars is systematically assembling and presenting the results of recent research in the vast literature of Soren Kierkegaard. Based on the definitive English edition of Kierkegaard's works by Princeton University Press, this series of commentaries addresses all the published texts of the influential Danish philosopher ...more
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Published (first published 1849)
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Leonard
For Kierkegaard, “the self is not the relation (which relates to itself) but the relation’s relating to itself.” From the start, he shifts from a Cartesian or essentialist view of the self to an existentialist one. Whereas for Descartes “self” is a common noun, for Kierkegaard, it is a gerund. And the embedded verb, to relate, points to the dynamics of the self. In this case, relating to itself.

Kierkegaard

The first despair is that “which is ignorant of being in despair, or the despairing ignorance of havin
...more
Justin Evans
In which I am again reminded of a friend's experience with a professor in a class on Kierkegaard: the students spent the first five weeks trying to convince the professor that you can probably only understand a quarter of Kierkegaard unless you read him in the context of Hegel; the professor rejects this and stresses instead Kierkegaard's Socraticism; at the end of the fifth week (i.e., less than halfway through the course) the professor admits defeat. If that doesn't sound remarkable, you haven ...more
Ken Moten
"...What our age needs is education. And so this is what happened: God chose a man who also needed to be educated, and educated him privatissime, so that he might be able to teach others from his own experience." From Kierkegaard's [personal] Journals.

2013 is the bicentennial of Kierkegaard's birth. He probably would have not wanted you to know that, but he has plenty more things to let you know.

They call him the "Father of Existentialism". You know you're asking for trouble when trying to writ
...more
kaśyap
This can be called a Phenomenology of Despair. Kierkegaard is frequently considered as anti-Hegel but this book can be considered as a kind of dialectic of the self. Kierkegaard looked at the self the same way as Hegel looked at the world, his universal spirit.

Here we see his iterative definition of the self,

The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self, or it is that in the relation that the relation relates itself to its own self; the self is not the relation but that the relati
...more
David Sarkies
Jan 02, 2015 David Sarkies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Existentialists
Recommended to David by: I saw it in the library
Shelves: philosophy
Identity in an industrialised world
14 October 2013

This book seems to simply ramble on with only a vague structure to it. The reason I say a vague structure is because the first part deals with despair and the second part deals with the nature of sin. However within both parts Kierkegaard doesn't seem to actually be moving in any specific direction, nor does he seem to come to any particular conclusion – if I were marking this as an essay, I would probably give it good marks in relation to conte
...more
David Withun
The Sickness unto Death, like all of Kierkegaard's works, is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1849. In fact, it may very well be even more relevant as the downward spiral of Christendom has continued in the century and a half since the death of Kierkegaard. In this work, Kierkegaard identifies the illness of man, "the sickness unto death," as the state of despair and offers the bitter but effective medicine of the truth of the Christian faith.

Despair, says Kierkegaard,
...more
Robby
"The Sickness unto Death" is an insightful taxonomy of human self-deception, and a fascinating polemic supporting a Christianity of individuals, rather than groups. Its two parts, "The Sickness unto Death is Despair" and "Despair is Sin," reflect its dual psychological and theological significance.

It is, first, a precursor of modern psychoanalysis, exploring the idea of despair as a lack of self-understanding and self-acceptance. Anticipating Freud's 'unconscious mind,' Kierkegaard claims that v
...more
Laura Leaney
I didn't enjoy this book at all. Is it a book? It's more like one long depressing, repetitive sermon that has occasional psychological insights into the human mind of a despairer.

The dour Dane definitely made some astute observations about the nature of despair - and I especially like the one on the difference between youths and adults: "The youth despairs over the future as the present in futuro [in the future]; there is something in the future that he is not willing to take upon himself, and
...more
Joe
It seems that the ethical thing for a person to do is to accept their transcendence by the infinite (i.e. what exceeds the understanding, what is the actualization of pure possibility as God and as human spirit) through faith. The dialectic struggle between the two parts of human beings, the finite (the body, immediacy) and the infinite (the spirit, eternity), may lead one to despair. This is okay as long as one's despair leads to faith, i.e. a willed abdication of oneself to the infinite. In fa ...more
Mahdi
اول اینو بگم که ترجمه قابل قبول نبود. اصرار زیاد به تحت اللفظی بودن، آدم رو به این شک می انداخت که مترجم حرفی که متن اصلی میخواد بزنه رو متوجه نشده، در نتیجه مجبور شده با دقت وسواس گونه و بیمارگونه ای لفظ به لفظ ترجمه کنه.
حروف چینی و علامت گذاری و ویراستاری هم افتضاح بودن. جاهایی حتا کلمات رو اشتباه نوشته بودن، در نتیجه معنای جمله، کاملاً عکس اون چیزی می شد که نویسنده می خواست بگه و این رو متوجه نمی شدی، مگر بعد از دو صفحه با گیجی و سردرگمی پیش رفتن.

دوم این که کتاب، نوشته ی یک فیلسوف هگلیه. یعنی
...more
Brent McCulley
The most fascinating piece of philosophy I have ever read hitherto, Kierkegaard's "Sickness Unto Death" is the standard work for the existential definition of sin. Kierkegaard writes in two parts, the latter building on the former: that sickness unto death is despair, and despair is sin.

This work introduced mesmerizing Kierkegaardean doctrines to me such as the self being the relations relating to itself, which ultimately must find its relating relationship to itself in the Being who grounded it
...more
Lars K Jensen
Det er svært at give stjerner/karakter til en bog fra 1849, især når det er et værk som dette af Søren Kierkegaard. Meget er ændret, siden han skrev det - og det virker lige lovlig selviscenesættende at skulle give fire, og ikke fem, stjerner, fordi man synes, det religiøse tager overhånd mod slutningen.

Så ingen karakter, kun tekst.

Bogen er fantastisk, uanset om man er religiøs eller ej. Det er et af Kierkegaards psykologiske værker, og vi kommer virkelig med i sindets dybder, når han definerer
...more
Jules Dean
I had taken a picture of an old man on the lookout area of the Pompiduo in Paris. He was facing the city and was hunched forward in a way that showed his age. It was a shot composed mostly of luck and good timing. I instantly thought of Keiregaard and used the photo for a creative project based on this book. When I was leaving the museum, there was a girl trying to speak to me in French. I nodded in a way i had seen my students in Prague do many times before. It was a look I would receive after ...more
globulon
Just read this for the second time. The first time was in college for a Kierkegaard class. I liked it then a lot, but one of the problems with college for me was that I often felt overloaded. There was so much to read that it was often difficult to get it all read, and so even the stuff I read was almost never at full attention.

I read "Fear and Trembling" before college (or at least my second and successful attempt at college). I really loved it. But on the other hand, I have a difficult relatio
...more
Nemo
What is Despair?

"Just as a physician might say there isn't a single human being who enjoys perfect health, so someone with a proper knowledge of man might say there is not a single human being who does not despair at least a little, in whose innermost being there does not dwell an uneasiness, an unquiet, a discordance, an anxiety in the face of an unknown something, or a something he doesn't even dare strike up acquaintance with, an anxiety about a possibility in life or an anxiety about himself
...more
Brenden O'Donnell
I think Kierkegaard's methodology is easy to relate to: basically, that no book is too rigorous to be a self-help book. Personally, I always try to get something out of books, even philosophy books, that I can use to improve my life. I really appreciate the humility of this approach to writing and meditating on philosophy, though I worry it set me up for too experimental a reading.

There's really no way to read this book as anything other than a description of how Christian existentialism (I gues
...more
Janito
Soren Kierkegaard, para mi te mereces 5 estrellas, por que?, me has ayudado a entender sentimientos que sencillamente uno por lo general rechaza, no acepta como parte de uno. En este libro el autor entrega de forma exhaustiva el concepto de la angustia, como un punto de inicio donde uno se puede entregar si bien a la fe o hacia la desesperación, ambos desde un punto de vista cristiano. El hombre como enfermedad mortal, y el cristiano quien conoce esta enfermedad, siendo esta desesperación, pues ...more
John
"So much is spoken about wasting one's life. But the only life wasted is the life of one who so lived it, deceived by life's pleasures or its sorrows, that he never became decisively, eternally, conscious of himself as spirit, as self, or, what is the same, he never became aware--and gained in the deepest sense the impression--that there is a God there and that 'he', himself, his self, exists before this God, which infinite gain is never come by except through despair."
Andy
There were passages in "Sickness Unto Death" that were a real struggle for me. Kierkegaard seems to assume that his readers have read a lot of Hegel, and I haven't. But it was worth pushing through, because the psychological depth of Kierkegaard's thinking is startling. At least, I kept having the unsettling feeling that he was describing me and people I know. I plan on reading this one again.

However, the introduction in this edition is pretty bad. I couldn't help wondering what Kierkegaard woul
...more
woodshadows
"Doubtless most men live with far too little consciousness of themselves
to have a conception of what consistency is; that is to say, they do not
exist qua spirit. Their lives (either with a certain childish and lovable
naïveté or in sheer banality) consist in some act or another, some
occurrence, this or that; and then they do something good, then in
turn something wrong, and then it begins all over again; now they are
in despair, for an afternoon, perhaps for three weeks, but then they are
jovial aga
...more
AJ Dehany
Kierkegaard has such sexy titles - Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, The Sickness Unto Death - and his importance as a proto-existentialist (who first used the word 'absurd' in the camusian sort of sense) is recognised, and his sympathetic critical engagement with theology is not to be understated, but it all makes me want to tear my hair out when brilliant thinkers waste their lives trying to reconcile the contradictions of religious myths, to make sense of utter nonsense, hoisting themselves on p ...more
Moad
I have to say an extraordinary piece of philosophy. And the most serious work I came across concerning Christianity. Kierkegaard's words simplified a lot of concepts about despair, and also translated our emotions and our awareness of the self and how complex that is. I don't think that its difficult to read, the matter discussed is deep yes but the way the author had delivered it was elegant. The book is a page-turner no doubt, Soren Kierkegaard is sure a genius and he was not the type of autho ...more
Matt
The only reason I give it a 4 is that I am not smart enough to give it a 5. To give it 5 stars would be to pretend to fully understand him. I hope to upgrade both my understanding and thus the rating by reading it a few more times.

He gives voice to the psychological underpinnings of so much of what is wrong about my own practice of Christianity and participation in "Christendom" yet does so graciously, albeit in philosophical binary code.
Josefin
As you may see by my rating I did not like this book. Let me introduce to you two sentences from page nine, at the very beginning of part one:

"The self is a relation which relates to itself, or that in the relation which is its relating to itself. The self is not the relation but the relation's relating to itself."

Let me quote Einstein here; "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." This to me is a wanna-be-smart person who doesn't want to spread knowledge, but wants
...more
John Lucy
This is a central work of Kierkegaard's that, like a great majority of his writings, I think everyone should read who cares even slightly about living well. Kierkegaard diagnoses the human problem, that of being in despair, whether we acknowledge it or not, and indirectly through his diagnosis Kierkegaard also prescribes the cure. From that little description, you might gather that this book is perfect for anyone who has ever asked the question, "why can't I seem to make life's joys permanent? W ...more
L
A self is a self that relates to itself -- says Barnacle Bill the Sailor.
No wonder Sweden hated Denmark until recently.
The quintessential 'brooding Dane' makes Hamlet seem like Milton Berle.
He makes Aristotle and Plato seem relevant in comparison.
Not recommended for anyone who has something constructive to do or works with sharp objects.

Mark Robertson
Kierkegaard provides an illuminating look at ways varieties of seemingly non-functional lifestyles. It is perplexing when one arrives at the later lifestyles of misrelations to God, when it seems that there are atheist/agnostic lifestyles that don't fall into any of his categories. Or at least so I think.
Alex Lee
I'd like to give this 3.5 stars, but I guess since that's not possible, let's go with 3 stars, since the ending fell flat.

Kierkegaard follows the Hegelian dialectic through the realization of spirit from self. Different from other readings, but not incompatible, Kierkegaard notes that it is through God as man as the mediator that self is realized as spirit, that like Hegel, Jesus is the bridge for the insurmountable gap between man and God. What's particularly compelling about this work is that
...more
Adams Jess
Kierkegaard kills me! Sometimes I literally choke on his words, the difficulty of his insights are to swallow... perhaps the ultimate truth?
David Miller
A remarkable effort at making his chosen faith into the most terrifying of all possible realities, and it still counts as pro-Christian. Perhaps the terror comes from being only half-understood. Perhaps it's just the skill of his writing. But what I like best about Kierkegaard is, even when he's writing in character, he's clearly not messing around.

I don't know if I'm really in despair, as Kierkegaard asserts, or if he's really got the insight into why. Telling him so would probably drive him cr
...more
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  • Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
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  • Naming and Necessity
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Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a prolific 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian. Kierkegaard strongly criticised both the Hegelianism of his time and what he saw as the empty formalities of the Church of Denmark. Much of his work deals with religious themes such as faith in God, the institution of the Christian Church, Christian ethics and theology, and the emotions and feelings of individua ...more
More about Søren Kierkegaard...
Fear and Trembling Either/Or: A Fragment of Life Fear and Trembling/Repetition (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 6) The Seducer's Diary The Essential Kierkegaard

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“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. - is sure to be noticed.” 557 likes
“And this is one of the most crucial definitions for the whole of Christianity; that the opposite of sin is not virtue but faith.” 45 likes
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