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1. Leung, Karey. Suspension of secular seriousness: a Kierkegaardian revival of metaphysical humor in ethico-political communication.
Degree: PhD, Political Science, 2007, Rutgers University
Scientific scholarship when applied to ethics may not only fail in providing a doctrine of ethics, but moreover negatively serve to drain the enthusiasm for concerted action. If a book on ethics makes one complacent rather than agitated to act, then according to Kierkegaard, it is written for unethical purposes. If an individual is more preoccupied with finding the perfect language to speak of ethics than becoming motivated to act in the world, then such profundity becomes a delay tactic to avoid right action. Even the careful attentiveness of waiting to act until one knows for sure that one’s action is the right one becomes a means to uncoil one’s active potential. How then can one write about ethics? Bar remaining silent, perhaps it is not a matter of writing about ethics in a detached manner of scientific academic prose but a way of writing that ignites the passions. Contrary to the common conception that Kierkegaard is against ethics in his pronouncement of Abraham’s “teleological suspension of the ethical” in Fear and Trembling by his pseudonym Johannes de Silentio, I argue that Kierkegaard is deeply invested in exciting his reader towards ethical action even if he writes to offend so that the reader puts the book down in order to live. Also, contrary to another common conception that Kierkegaard suffers from deep melancholy, I argue that Kierkegaard writes from a comic-tragic source that integrates humor and exaggerated seriousness that when later revoked speaks without authority to the individual reader who may be resistant to direct moral proselytizing. I argue Kierkegaard’s attempt to (re)metaphysicalize Christian ethico-spirituality as humorous can help transform the foundationalist/antifoundationalist debate by integrating form and content in recovering the premodern comic roots of ethics. Taking Kierkegaard’s heed not to academicize his work, I will do my best to tread carefully to avoid translating his indirect approach into a dry ‘Kierkegaardian theory of ethics.’
Includes abstractAdvisors/Committee Members: Leung, Karey (author), Cornell, Drucilla (chair), Fernandes, Leela (internal member), Schochet, Gordon (internal member), West, Cornel (outside member).
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APA (6th Edition):
Leung, K. (2007). Suspension of secular seriousness: a Kierkegaardian revival of metaphysical humor in ethico-political communication. (Doctoral Dissertation). Rutgers University. Retrieved from http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.1/rucore10001600001.ETD.000054800
Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):
Leung, Karey. “Suspension of secular seriousness: a Kierkegaardian revival of metaphysical humor in ethico-political communication.” 2007. Doctoral Dissertation, Rutgers University. Accessed July 15, 2020. http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.1/rucore10001600001.ETD.000054800.
MLA Handbook (7th Edition):
Leung, Karey. “Suspension of secular seriousness: a Kierkegaardian revival of metaphysical humor in ethico-political communication.” 2007. Web. 15 Jul 2020.
Leung K. Suspension of secular seriousness: a Kierkegaardian revival of metaphysical humor in ethico-political communication. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Rutgers University; 2007. [cited 2020 Jul 15]. Available from: http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.1/rucore10001600001.ETD.000054800.
Council of Science Editors:
Leung K. Suspension of secular seriousness: a Kierkegaardian revival of metaphysical humor in ethico-political communication. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Rutgers University; 2007. Available from: http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.1/rucore10001600001.ETD.000054800