Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of the writing Literary Paradoxes in the Philosophical Fragments of Soren Aabye Kierkegaard, is to exhibit the paradoxes used in the Philosophical Fragments as well as to indicate techniques of deception employed by Kierkegaard for the purpose of shocking the reader into contemplation. Philosophical Fragments was chosen to point out the use of paradoxes in Kierkegaard€™s authorship because it is indicative of the whole Kierkegaardian problem of what it means to become a Christian. Data was gathered by reading the primary writings of the author as well as commentaries on his life and work by his translators and biographers. Quotations from Kierkegaard's Point of View were used to establish instances in which Kierkegaard admitted of the technique of deception. It was assumed that, since he was capable of admitted deception, he was very likely to have used deception which was not admitted but indicated by the nature of his authorship and personal mode of existence. In order to exhibit the paradoxes in a manner, which would indicate to the reader the relationship of paradoxes, deception techniques used to attract attention, and the point of the authorship as a whole, Philosophical Fragments was summarized. Major paradoxes were quoted and apparent deceptions were pointed out as they appeared in context. A pattern was observed in the paradoxical relationships of three which Kierkegaard made use of in his discourse. The progression of the relationship pattern was indicated and found to be important in the exhibition of the paradoxes and in the relationship of Kierkegaard to his reader. In conclusion it was affirmed that Kierkegaard in approaching his reader used the method of shock by means other than those which he admitted being author to and that he was capable of deception as a deliberate technique. It was reiterated that the method of deceit was carried farther than his admission and remained for the reader to discover. Diagrams which exhibit the pattern of Kierkegaard€™s paradoxical relationships were shown for the purpose of clarifying the relationships for the reader. Paramount in the conclusion is Kierkegaard€™s assertion that the learner is not asked to understand the paradox but only to recognize it. As a final conclusion, Kierkegaard is named as the purveyor of truth in a paradoxical relationship involving his reader at the lower end of the scale, Christ at the top of the scale as superior, with Kierkegaard as the central figure in the relationship with the task of giving the contradictories a means of understanding.


Dr. Ralph V. Coder

Date of Award

Summer 1954

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1954 Bertina Johnson


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