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Title page for ETD etd-11302017-112306

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Bragg, Hunter Alan
URN etd-11302017-112306
Title Kierkegaard, Indirect Communication and Performativity
Degree Master of Arts
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Paul DeHart Committee Chair
William Franke Committee Member
  • Kierkegaard
  • Performativity
Date of Defense 2017-12-16
Availability unrestricted
This thesis will claim that applying the concepts of J.L Austin’s speech act theory to Søren Kierkegaard’s practice of indirect communication will provide insight into the performative aspects of indirect communication and will reveal that its ability to introduce readers to the decisive categories of Christianity depends upon this performative capability. Kierkegaard, through indirect, pseudonymous forms of discourse, introduces ethical and religious categories—categories which are concerned with the subjective relation to God—into the aesthetic existence and thought of those living within what he calls Christendom. Because the pseudonyms introduce reflected discourse into an objective form of existence, Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous authorship draws attention to the reader’s relationship to God in a way that direct communication cannot, namely by altering the mode of communication from an objective to a subjective one. Kierkegaard hopes that this will prompt the reader to become aware of her relation to God and then to make a decision concerning it. After explaining the relevant portions of Austin’s and Kierkegaard’s respective projects, I will argue that Kierkegaard’s use of indirect communication can succeed because of the performative nature of indirect communication which enables the pseudonyms to introduce the reader to the subjective categories of Christianity.
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