"Kierkegaard and Modern Continental Philosophy" provides a radical alternative to modern continental critiques of traditional philosophy. Michael Weston examines the possibility of an ethical critique of philosophy and questions the jurisdiction of philosophy over both ethics and religion. He explores Kierkegaard's writings in light of the modern continental thinking that has sought to "overcome" or "end" philosophy.
Nietzsche and later thinkers such as Heidegger and Derrida challenged the metaphysical tradition in philosophy and undermined the credibility of ethics and religion. Kierkegaard's work, while acknowledged as a precursor to these developments, has been criticized for its continuing dependence on metaphysical assumptions. Weston offers a major re-assessment of Kierkegaard's philosophy and argues that its radical nature has been overlooked. He identifies the comic and ironic tone infusing Kierkegaard's work and examines the philosopher's practice of publishing under bizarre pseudonyms. Weston argues that Kierkegaard's writings engage in an "ethical" critique of philosophy; they identify ethics as the non-philosophical site from which philosophy can be criticized. The book demonstrates how this "ethical" critique applies not only to metaphysics but also to modern continental thought.
"This bold attempt to secure for Kierkegaard the same kind of role in contemporary continental philosophy already enjoyed by Nietzsche is a challenge both to those who leave him out of current conversations altogether and to those who treat him as if he were just another French poststructuralist. It is lucidly written and remarkably free of jargon. Weston's expositions of the major figures he discusses will be accessible to undergraduates, while his argument will require specialist scholars to take note. Both as a teacher and as a scholar I want to keep this book ready-to-hand."
-Merold Westphal, Fordham University