'The truth is alive': Kierkegaard's anthropology of dualism, subjectivity and somatic knowledge

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Abstract

Kierkegaard argued that the scientific method was inappropriate for gaining an understanding of human experience; the natural science of the physical world and the social philosophy of the human condition must, he felt, be clearly differentiated if one hoped to take account of the richness, the inwardness and the individuality of human experience. This article takes Kierkegaard's stance against a certain kind of scientism as the starting point for a discussion of the nature of scientific knowledge and an elaboration on the place of the individual agent in the social-scientific accounting of that agent's behaviour. Aspects of Kierkegaard's argument are first introduced, followed by the pointing up of some of its more contemporary anthropological resonances. Criticisms of a Kierkegaardian position are next mooted, such as might be made from the `scientific' standpoints of Ernest Gellner and Karl Popper. From this triangulation the article offers some conclusions on the kind of truth sufficient for a personal anthropology of experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-183
JournalAnthropological Theory
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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