Loneliness and innocence: A Kierkegaardian reflection on the paradox of self-realization

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In this paper, I explore loneliness as a primordial call to find accord with the self that, as Kierkegaard claims, is born of spirit. I put Kierkegaard's Anti-Climacan formula, "the more consciousness, the more self," to work by examining lamentation over loss of the innocent days of youth as symptomatic of primordial loneliness. In loneliness, I argue, we confound loss of naivete (a developmental change) with loss of innocence (a spiritual failing). While each person is fated to lose naivete, no person loses innocence by developmental necessity. Each person loses innocence by his or her own hand in freedom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-433
Number of pages19
JournalContinental Philosophy Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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