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Title page for ETD etd-07212009-155524

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Froom, Eric
URN etd-07212009-155524
Title Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, and philosophical doubt
Degree Master of Arts
Department Philosophy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Prof. Michael Hodges Committee Chair
Prof. William Franke Committee Member
  • Kierkegaard
  • doubt
  • contradiction
  • Wittgenstein
  • consciousness
Date of Defense 2007-10-15
Availability unrestricted
In the abstract, this thesis focuses on the subject of philosophical doubt. Both Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein criticize philosophical doubt, and their methods of criticism are both similar and complimentary. In the first two parts of the thesis, I explain some of their criticisms of philosophical doubt. Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein determine that philosophical doubt is an activity that relies on assumptions as it contravenes them. In his treatment of the subject, Wittgenstein approximates some of the impediments to the communication of the errors of philosophical doubt. In an effort to isolate the problem of communicating the errors of philosophical doubt, I explain and develop Kierkegaard’s analysis of the consciousness for which doubt is a possibility. I then draw upon Kierkegaard’s analysis of the consciousness for which doubt is a possibility to explain the following: how the activity of philosophical doubt produces error, and how the production of error helps the activity of philosophical doubt to sustain itself; the difficulty of communicating the error of philosophical doubt to the individual, and the resistence of the philosophical doubter to the disclosure of the nature of philosophical doubt. This analysis helps to frame the question of whether philosophical doubt is an essential part of philosophy. Finally, I return to Kierkegaard’s character Johannes Climacus, who both disproved philosophical doubt in the abstract and suffered it subjectively.

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