Australia: An Archaeology of the Silence of Kierkegaard's Philosophical Reception
Contributor(s)University of New England
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AbstractThe story of Kierkegaard's philosophical reception in Australia is largely the story of his non-reception. This is because of a combination of historical untimeliness and geographical isolation, the strident secularism of the Australian education system, the attempt in the first half of the twentieth century to forge a national identity for Australian philosophy, and the more recent ideological stand-off between Angio-American "analytic" philosophy and European "Continental" philosophy. In tracing the Kierkegaard reception in Australia, I have examined the following surfaces of emergence of his work: (I) philosophy appointments at Australian universities: (II) Australian journals of philosophy: (III) international publications by Australian philosophers: (IV) Australian university courses in philosophy; (V) Australian Ph.D. theses in philosophy: (VI) Australian philosophy conferences; and (VII) other Kierkegaard resources, such as societies, research units, research networks, and special events. In order to understand why there has been relatively little uptake of Kierkegaard's work in Australia, we need to examine not only these surfaces of emergence, but also the "enunciative modalities" in our archaeology of Kierkegaard reception. This involves asking the questions: "Who is speaking?"; "From what institutional site?"; and "Who is the questioning and listening subject?)" We will also look at Kierkegaard reception in Australia through Foucault's concept of "the formation of strategies." This will focus on which theories and texts have been yoked to Kierkegaard's in Australian philosophy. Kierkegaard is a transdiscursive author and a founder of discursivity. He writes across a variety of intersecting disciplines of knowledge, and spawns writings in philosophy, theology, literature, literary criticism, education, and psychology. He is a writer who introduces new problematics in these fields, and new concepts with which to present them. This study is restricted to Kierkegaard reception in the discourse of Australian philosophy.