Living in Uncertainty: Kierkegaard and Possibility

Living in Uncertainty: Kierkegaard and Possibility
12 September 2019, 12.30pm - 14 September 2019, 6.00pm
Conference / Symposium
Woburn Suite, G22/26, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Invited Speakers:

Iben Damgaard (Copenhagen)
Joakim Garff (Copenhagen)
John Lippitt (Hertfordshire & Deakin) 
Rick Anthony Furtak (Colorado)

‘Ethically understood, if anything is able to stir up a person, it is possibility...’ (Concluding Unscientific Postscript)
‘When someone faints, people shout for water, eau-de-cologne, Hoffman’s drops. But for someone who is on the point of despair it is: get me possibility, get me possibility, the only thing that can save me is possibility.’ (Sickness Unto Death)

The term ‘possibility’ (Mulighed) and its variants occur with curious frequency across Kierkegaard’s writings. Key to Kierkegaard’s ontology of the self, possibility is linked to imagination, anxiety, temporality, transition, the moment, and a number of other core ideas in his works.  The term is also central to Kierkegaard’s critique of Hegelian actuality, in which the underlying questions seem to be: What does freedom have to do with history? How is change possible? What does it mean to begin?

This conference will explore themes of living in uncertainty, ontological or phenomenological structures of possibility, and the possibility of radical change or conversion in Kierkegaard’s work. 
Kierkegaard offers a rich account of how anxiety, as the lived experience of possibility, opens us to a new horizon while showing us the contingency and fragility of the systems and identities we presently inhabit. In our time of political uncertainty as well as a seemingly intractable global capitalism, Kierkegaard’s work on radical possibility seems more relevant than ever. 

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The conference is generously supported by the Danish Embassy of London, the Kierkegaard Society of the UK and the University of Hertfordshire.


Jenny Stubbs
020 7862 8832