Describe Kierkegaard's three stages of life. Critically evaluate Kierkegaard's explanation for regarding the religious as the best kind of life for humanity. Are you convinced by his explanations?

2627 Words11 Pages
Kierkegaard, a highly regarded philosopher of the 19th century, put to us the idea of living life in three different stages. He named these stages the Aesthetical, the Ethical and the Religious. He himself passed through each of the stages in his own lifetime and he adopted them as his own philosophy of human existence. The first two stages are characterised by a distinct set of beliefs and behaviours that are easily identified, whereas the last stage, the religious is characterised by a highly personal, subjective and non-rational ‘’leap of faith’’. (Dunning 182-183). The ideal is to progress from the aesthetical to the ethical, finally reaching the religious stage but as Kierkegaard himself realised, it is possible to regress or go back a stage. He said that he felt that he had never really left the first two, these stages were always there. He believed that one can move in and out and through all three stages within a lifetime. For the purpose of this essay I will explain each of the three stages in order to give an understanding of Kierkegaard’s philosophical theory of life. Also I will discuss why Kierkegaard considered the religious stage as the best kind of life for humanity and I will present to you some criticisms against Kierkegaard’s third stage. The Aesthetical Stage. This stage is defined by immediacy and a failure to reflect seriously upon the nature of one’s way of living. Those who live in the aesthetical stage are said to be a slave to their senses, satisfying urges and impulses as the body feels them. They possess qualities of immediacy and indulgence-living only for the moment and doing as they please. They are motivated by their desires and emotions. What they consider ‘good’ is that which gives them pleasure not that which is universally understood as

More about Describe Kierkegaard's three stages of life. Critically evaluate Kierkegaard's explanation for regarding the religious as the best kind of life for humanity. Are you convinced by his explanations?

Open Document