"The Philosopher as a Physician of Culture": Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and their Diagnosis of Modern Culture
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AbstractThis article presents the cultural critiques of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche under the ancient and also explicitly Nietzschean metaphor of the “philosopher as a physician of culture.” It compares their respective analyses of the symptoms of the momentariness of modern culture, as well as their explorations of underlying social mechanisms, in order to demonstrate that their similar diagnoses, as well as their analogous remedies, reflect a common philosophical and ethical concern. This concern relates to the position of the concrete and singular individual in modernity and the broader ethical question of how to become a genuine self and to develop character over time. In dealing with this question, both philosophers supply a need, which has arisen as a result of the increase and objectification of theoretical knowledge and abstract reflection in modernity, and the resulting growing gap between theoretical and practical knowledge.