Apropos de Kierkegaard

Clement C. J. Webb

In an interesting article on Kierkegaard and the “Existential” Philosophy, contributed to the number of Philosophy for July 1941, Miss Dorothy Emmet counselled her readers to make themselves acquainted with the Journals of the famous Danish thinker, now rendered accessible to Englishmen ignorant of his language by the translation of Mr. Dru. I have taken her advice and am grateful to her for it. I am not indeed convinced that this self-revelation of a remarkable personality can be ranked among the great autobiographies of the world. It seems to me to fall, if only on account of its lack of unity as a work of literary art, below the standard which such an estimate of it would imply. But it is undoubtedly both impressive in itself and important in view of the influence which its author, little known in his lifetime beyond a circle of the parochial narrowness of which he was painfully conscious, has come, long after his death, to exert upon the spiritual and intellectual life of Europe to-day. The present article, however, will not be concerned with the exposition or criticism of this or other writings of Kierkegaard, but with thoughts, more or less suggested by my reading of him, respecting the notion of God and its significance for philosophy.