Economics is the social science that studies the production and consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and interactions of economic agents. Microeconomics analyzes basic elements in the economy, including individual agents and markets, their interactions, the outcomes of interactions. Individual agents may include, for example, firms and sellers. Macroeconomics analyzes the entire economy and issues affecting it, including unemployment of resources, economic growth, the public policies that address these issues. See glossary of economics. Other broad distinctions within economics include those between positive economics, describing "what is", normative economics, advocating "what ought to be". Economic analysis can be applied throughout society, in business, health care, government. Economic analysis is sometimes applied to such diverse subjects as crime, the family, politics, social institutions, war and the environment; the discipline was renamed in the late 19th century due to Alfred Marshall, from "political economy" to "economics" as a shorter term for "economic science".
At that time, it became more open to rigorous thinking and made increased use of mathematics, which helped support efforts to have it accepted as a science and as a separate discipline outside of political science and other social sciences. There are a variety of modern definitions of economics. Scottish philosopher Adam Smith defined what was called political economy as "an inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations", in particular as: a branch of the science of a statesman or legislator a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people... to supply the state or commonwealth with a revenue for the publick services. Jean-Baptiste Say, distinguishing the subject from its public-policy uses, defines it as the science of production and consumption of wealth. On the satirical side, Thomas Carlyle coined "the dismal science" as an epithet for classical economics, in this context linked to the pessimistic analysis of Malthus. John Stuart Mill defines the subject in a social context as: The science which traces the laws of such of the phenomena of society as arise from the combined operations of mankind for the production of wealth, in so far as those phenomena are not modified by the pursuit of any other object.
Alfred Marshall provides a still cited definition in his textbook Principles of Economics that extends analysis beyond wealth and from the societal to the microeconomic level: Economics is a study of man in the ordinary business of life. It enquires how he uses it. Thus, it is on the one side, the study of wealth and on the other and more important side, a part of the study of man. Lionel Robbins developed implications of what has been termed "erhaps the most accepted current definition of the subject": Economics is a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses. Robbins describes the definition as not classificatory in "pick out certain kinds of behaviour" but rather analytical in "focus attention on a particular aspect of behaviour, the form imposed by the influence of scarcity." He affirmed that previous economists have centred their studies on the analysis of wealth: how wealth is created and consumed. But he said that economics can be used to study other things, such as war, that are outside its usual focus.
This is because war has as the goal winning it, generates both cost and benefits. If the war is not winnable or if the expected costs outweigh the benefits, the deciding actors may never go to war but rather explore other alternatives. We cannot define economics as the science that studies wealth, crime and any other field economic analysis can be applied to; some subsequent comments criticized the definition as overly broad in failing to limit its subject matter to analysis of markets. From the 1960s, such comments abated as the economic theory of maximizing behaviour and rational-choice modelling expanded the domain of the subject to areas treated in other fields. There are other criticisms as well, such as in scarcity not accounting for the macroeconomics of high unemployment. Gary Becker, a contributor to the expansion of economics into new areas, describes the approach he favours as "combin assumptions of maximizing behaviour, stable preferences, market equilibrium, used relentlessly and unflinchingly."
One commentary characterizes the remark as making economics an approach rather than a subject matter but with great specificity as to the "choice process and the type of social interaction that analysis involves." The same source reviews a range of definitions included in principles of economics textbooks and concludes that the lack of agreement need not affect the subject-matter that the texts treat. A
The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere
The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society is a 1962 book by the philosopher Jürgen Habermas. It was translated into English in 1989 by Frederick Lawrence. An important contribution to modern understanding of democracy, it is notable for "transforming media studies into a hard-headed discipline." The notion of the "public sphere" began evolving during the Renaissance in Western Europe. Brought on by merchants' need for accurate information about distant markets as well as by the growth of democracy and individual liberty and popular sovereignty, the public sphere was a place between private individuals and government authorities in which people could meet and have critical debates about public matters; such discussions served as a counterweight to political authority and happened physically in face-to-face meetings in coffee houses and cafes and public squares as well as in the media in letters, books and art. Habermas saw a vibrant public sphere as a positive force keeping authorities within bounds lest their rulings be ridiculed.
According to David Randall, "In Habermasian theory, the bourgeois public sphere was preceded by a literary public sphere whose favored genres revealed the interiority of the self and emphasized an audience-oriented subjectivity." The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere was Habermas's first major work. It satisfied the rigorous requirements for a professorship in Germany; the work was overseen by the political scientist Wolfgang Abendroth. Habermas describes the development of a bourgeois public sphere in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as well as its subsequent decline; the first transition occurred in England, the United States, Germany over the course of 150 years or so from the late seventeenth century. England led the way in the early eighteenth century, with Germany following in the late eighteenth century. Habermas tries to explain the growth and decline of the public sphere by relating political, social and philosophical developments to each other in a multi-disciplinary approach.
There were monarchical and feudal societies which made no distinction between state and society or between public and private, which had organized themselves politically around symbolic representation and status. These feudal societies were transformed into a bourgeois liberal constitutional order which distinguished between the public and private realms. Spearheading this shift was the growth of a literary public sphere in which the bourgeoisie learned to critically reflect upon itself and its role in society; this first major shift occurred alongside the rise of early non-industrial capitalism and the philosophical articulation of political liberalism by such thinkers as Hobbes, Montesquieu and Kant. The bourgeois public sphere flourished within the early laissez-faire, free-market pre-industrial capitalist order of liberalism from the late eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century; the second part of Habermas' account traces the transition from the liberal bourgeois public sphere to the modern mass society of the social welfare state.
Starting in the 1830s, extending from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, a new constellation of social, cultural and philosophical developments took shape. Hegel's critique of Kant's liberal philosophy anticipated the shift, according to Habermas, this shift came to a philosophical head in Marx's astute diagnosis of the contradictions inherent in the liberal constitutional social order. Habermas saw the modified liberalism of Mill and Tocqueville with their ambivalence toward the public sphere as emblematic manifestations of these contradictions. Paralleling this philosophical progression against classical liberalism were major socio-economic transformations based on industrialization, the result was the rise of mass societies characterized by consumer capitalism in the twentieth century. Clear demarcations between public and private and between state and society became; the bourgeois public sphere was transformed by the increasing re-integration and entwining of state and society that resulted in the modern social welfare state.
This shift, according to Habermas, can be seen as part of a larger dialectic in which political changes were made in an attempt to save the liberal constitutional order, but had the ultimate effect of destroying the bourgeois public sphere. He highlights the pernicious effects of commercialization and consumerization on the public sphere through the rise of mass media, public relations, consumer culture, he delineates how these developments thwarted rational-critical political debate, including political parties functioning in a way that bypassed the public sphere, undermining parliamentary politics. Habermas drew on the cultural critiques of critical theory from the Frankfurt School, which included important thinkers such as Theodor Adorno, one of his teachers at the Institute for Social Research from 1956 to 1959. Habermas began his habilitation during this period, but due to intellectual tensions with the Institute's director and sociologist Max Horkheimer, he moved to the University of Marburg, where he compl
Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value, thus comprises the branch of philosophy called axiology. Ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil and wrong, virtue and vice and crime; as a field of intellectual inquiry, moral philosophy is related to the fields of moral psychology, descriptive ethics, value theory. Three major areas of study within ethics recognized today are: Meta-ethics, concerning the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions, how their truth values can be determined Normative ethics, concerning the practical means of determining a moral course of action Applied ethics, concerning what a person is obligated to do in a specific situation or a particular domain of action The English word "ethics" is derived from the Ancient Greek word ēthikós, meaning "relating to one's character", which itself comes from the root word êthos meaning "character, moral nature".
This was borrowed into Latin as ethica and into French as éthique, from which it was borrowed into English. Rushworth Kidder states that "standard definitions of ethics have included such phrases as'the science of the ideal human character' or'the science of moral duty'". Richard William Paul and Linda Elder define ethics as "a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms sentient creatures"; the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy states that the word "ethics" is "commonly used interchangeably with'morality'... and sometimes it is used more narrowly to mean the moral principles of a particular tradition, group or individual." Paul and Elder state that most people confuse ethics with behaving in accordance with social conventions, religious beliefs and the law and don't treat ethics as a stand-alone concept. The word ethics in English refers to several things, it can refer to philosophical ethics or moral philosophy—a project that attempts to use reason to answer various kinds of ethical questions.
As the English philosopher Bernard Williams writes, attempting to explain moral philosophy: "What makes an inquiry a philosophical one is reflective generality and a style of argument that claims to be rationally persuasive." Williams describes the content of this area of inquiry as addressing the broad question, "how one should live". Ethics can refer to a common human ability to think about ethical problems, not particular to philosophy; as bioethicist Larry Churchill has written: "Ethics, understood as the capacity to think critically about moral values and direct our actions in terms of such values, is a generic human capacity." Ethics can be used to describe a particular person's own idiosyncratic principles or habits. For example: "Joe has strange ethics." Meta-ethics is the branch of philosophical ethics that asks how we understand, know about, what we mean when we talk about what is right and what is wrong. An ethical question pertaining to a particular practical situation—such as, "Should I eat this particular piece of chocolate cake?"—cannot be a meta-ethical question.
A meta-ethical question is abstract and relates to a wide range of more specific practical questions. For example, "Is it possible to have secure knowledge of what is right and wrong?" is a meta-ethical question. Meta-ethics has always accompanied philosophical ethics. For example, Aristotle implies that less precise knowledge is possible in ethics than in other spheres of inquiry, he regards ethical knowledge as depending upon habit and acculturation in a way that makes it distinctive from other kinds of knowledge. Meta-ethics is important in G. E. Moore's Principia Ethica from 1903. In it he first wrote about. Moore was seen to reject naturalism in his Open Question Argument; this made. Earlier, the Scottish philosopher David Hume had put forward a similar view on the difference between facts and values. Studies of how we know in ethics divide into non-cognitivism. Non-cognitivism is the view that when we judge something as morally right or wrong, this is neither true nor false. We may, for example, be only expressing our emotional feelings about these things.
Cognitivism can be seen as the claim that when we talk about right and wrong, we are talking about matters of fact. The ontology of ethics is about value-bearing things or properties, i.e. the kind of things or stuff referred to by ethical propositions. Non-descriptivists and non-cognitivists believe that ethics does not need a specific ontology since ethical propositions do not refer; this is known as an anti-realist position. Realists, on the other hand, must explain what kind of entities, properties or states are relevant for ethics, how they have value, why they guide and motivate our actions. Normative ethics is the study of ethical action, it is the branch of ethics that investigates the set of questions that arise when considering how one ought to act, morally speaking. Normative ethics is distinct from meta-ethics because normative ethics examines standards for the rightness and wrongness of actions, while meta-ethics studies the meaning of moral language and the metaphysics of moral facts.
Normative ethics is distinct from descriptive ethics, as the latter is an empirical investigation of people's moral beliefs. To put it another way, descriptive ethics would be concerned with determining what proportion of people believe th
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher and a seminal thinker in the Continental tradition and philosophical hermeneutics, is "widely acknowledged to be one of the most original and important philosophers of the 20th century." Heidegger is best known for his contributions to phenomenology and existentialism, though as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy cautions, "his thinking should be identified as part of such philosophical movements only with extreme care and qualification". Heidegger's membership in and public support for the Nazi Party has been the subject of widespread controversy regarding the extent to which his Nazism influenced his philosophy, his first and best known book and Time, though unfinished, is one of the central philosophical works of the 20th century. In its first part, Heidegger attempted to turn away from "ontic" questions about beings to ontological questions about Being, recover the most fundamental philosophical question: the question of Being, of what it means for something to be.
Heidegger approached the question through an inquiry into the being that has an understanding of Being, asks the question about it, Human being, which he called Dasein. Heidegger argued that Dasein is defined by Care, its engaged and concernful mode of being-in-the-world, in opposition to such Rationalist thinkers as René Descartes who located the essence of man in his thinking abilities. For Heidegger thinking is thinking about things discovered in our everyday practical engagements; the consequence of this is that our capacity to think cannot be the most central quality of our being because thinking is a reflecting upon this more original way of discovering the world. In the second part of his book, Heidegger argues that human being is more fundamentally structured by its Temporality, or its concern with, relationship to time, existing as a structurally open "possibility-for-being", he emphasized the importance of Authenticity in human existence, involving a truthful relationship to our thrownness into a world which we are "always already" concerned with, to our being-towards-death, the Finitude of the time and being we are given, the closing down of our various possibilities for being through time.
Heidegger made critical contributions to philosophical conceptions of truth, arguing that its original meaning was unconcealment, to philosophical analyses of art as a site of the revelation of truth, to philosophical understanding of language as the "house of being." Heidegger's work includes criticisms of technology's instrumentalist understanding in the Western tradition as "enframing", treating all of Nature as a "standing reserve" on call for human purposes. Heidegger is a controversial figure for his affiliation with Nazism, as Rector of the University of Freiburg for 11 months, before his resignation in April 1934, for which he neither apologized nor publicly expressed regret. Heidegger was born in Baden-Württemberg, the son of Johanna and Friedrich Heidegger. Raised a Roman Catholic, he was the son of the sexton of the village church that adhered to the First Vatican Council of 1870, observed by the poorer class of Meßkirch, his family could not afford to send him to university, so he entered a Jesuit seminary, though he was turned away within weeks because of the health requirement and what the director and doctor of the seminary described as a psychosomatic heart condition.
Heidegger was sinewy, with dark piercing eyes. He enjoyed outdoor pursuits, being proficient at skiing. Studying theology at the University of Freiburg while supported by the church he switched his field of study to philosophy. Heidegger completed his doctoral thesis on psychologism in 1914, influenced by Neo-Thomism and Neo-Kantianism, directed by Arthur Schneider. In 1916, he finished his venia legendi with a habilitation thesis on Duns Scotus directed by Heinrich Rickert and influenced by Edmund Husserl's phenomenology. In the two years following, he worked first as an unsalaried Privatdozent served as a soldier during the final year of World War I. In 1923, Heidegger was elected to an extraordinary Professorship in Philosophy at the University of Marburg, his colleagues there included Rudolf Bultmann, Nicolai Hartmann, Paul Natorp. Heidegger's students at Marburg included Hans-Georg Gadamer, Hannah Arendt, Karl Löwith, Gerhard Krüger, Leo Strauss, Jacob Klein, Gunther Anders, Hans Jonas. Following on from Aristotle, he began to develop in his lectures the main theme of his philosophy: the question of the sense of being.
He extended the concept of subject to the dimension of history and concrete existence, which he found prefigured in such Christian thinkers as Saint Paul, Augustine of Hippo and Kierkegaard. He read the works of Wilhelm Dilthey, Max Scheler, Friedrich Nietzsche. In 1927, Heidegger published his main work Sein und Zeit; when Husserl retired as Professor of Philosophy in 1928, Heidegger accepted Freiburg's election to be his successor, in spite of a counter-offer by Marburg. Heidegger remained at Freiburg im Breisgau for the rest of his life, declining a number of offers, including one from Humboldt University of Berlin, his students at Freiburg included Arendt, Günther Anders, Hans Jonas, Karl Löwith, Charles Malik, Herbert Marcuse and Ernst Nolte. Emmanuel Levinas attended his lecture courses during his stay in Freiburg in 1928. Heidegger was elected rector of the University on 21 April 1933, joined the National Socialist German Workers' Part
Politics refers to a set of activities associated with the governance of a country, or an area. It involves making decisions, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community a state. The academic study focusing on just politics, therefore more targeted than general political science, is sometimes referred to as politology. In modern nation-states, people have formed political parties to represent their ideas, they agree to take the same position on many issues and agree to support the same changes to law and the same leaders. An election is a competition between different parties; some examples of political parties worldwide are: the African National Congress in South Africa, the Conservative in the United Kingdom, the Christian Democratic Union in Germany and the Indian National Congress in India. Politics is a multifaceted word, it has a set of specific meanings that are descriptive and nonjudgmental, but does colloquially carry a negative connotation.
The word has been used negatively for many years: the British national anthem as published in 1745 calls on God to "Confound their politics", the phrase "play politics", for example, has been in use since at least 1853, when abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared: "We do not play politics. Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level. A political system is a framework; the history of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics and the works of Confucius. The word comes from the same Greek word from which the title of Aristotle's book Politics derives; the book title was rendered in Early Modern English in the mid-15th century as "Polettiques". The singular politic first attested in English 1430 and comes from Middle French politique, in turn from Latin politicus, the Latinization of the Greek πολιτικός, meaning amongst others "of, for, or relating to citizens", "civil", "civic", "belonging to the state", in turn from πολίτης, "citizen" and that from πόλις, "city".
Formal politics refers to the operation of a constitutional system of government and publicly defined institutions and procedures. Political parties, public policy or discussions about war and foreign affairs would fall under the category of Formal Politics. Many people view formal politics as something outside of themselves, but that can still affect their daily lives. Semi-formal politics is politics in government associations such as neighborhood associations, or student governments where student government political party politics is important. Informal politics is understood as forming alliances, exercising power and protecting and advancing particular ideas or goals; this includes anything affecting one's daily life, such as the way an office or household is managed, or how one person or group exercises influence over another. Informal Politics is understood as everyday politics, hence the idea that "politics is everywhere"; the history of politics is reflected in the origin and economics of the institutions of government.
The origin of the state is to be found in the development of the art of warfare. Speaking, all political communities of the modern type owe their existence to successful warfare. Kings and other types of monarchs in many countries including China and Japan, were considered divine. Of the institutions that ruled states, that of kingship stood at the forefront until the American Revolution put an end to the "divine right of kings"; the monarchy is among the longest-lasting political institutions, dating as early as 2100 BC in Sumeria to the 21st century AD British Monarchy. Kingship becomes an institution through the institution of hereditary monarchy; the king even in absolute monarchies, ruled his kingdom with the aid of an elite group of advisors, a council without which he could not maintain power. As these advisors and others outside the monarchy negotiated for power, constitutional monarchies emerged, which may be considered the germ of constitutional government; the greatest of the king's subordinates, the earls and dukes in England and Scotland, the dukes and counts in the Continent, always sat as a right on the council.
A conqueror wages war upon the vanquished for vengeance or for plunder but an established kingdom exacts tribute. One of the functions of the council is to keep the coffers of the king full. Another is the satisfaction of military service and the establishment of lordships by the king to satisfy the task of collecting taxes and soldiers. There are many forms of political organization, including states, non-government organizations and international organizations such as the United Nations. States are the predominant institutional form of political governance, where a state is understood as an institution and a government is understood as the regime in power. According
One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society is a 1964 book by the philosopher Herbert Marcuse, in which the author offers a wide-ranging critique of both contemporary capitalism and the Communist society of the Soviet Union, documenting the parallel rise of new forms of social repression in both these societies, as well as the decline of revolutionary potential in the West. He argues that "advanced industrial society" created false needs, which integrated individuals into the existing system of production and consumption via mass media, industrial management, contemporary modes of thought; this results in a "one-dimensional" universe of thought and behaviour, in which aptitude and ability for critical thought and oppositional behaviour wither away. Against this prevailing climate, Marcuse promotes the "great refusal" as the only adequate opposition to all-encompassing methods of control. Much of the book is a defense of "negative thinking" as a disrupting force against the prevailing positivism.
Marcuse analyzes the integration of the industrial working class into capitalist society and new forms of capitalist stabilization, thus questioning the Marxian postulates of the revolutionary proletariat and the inevitability of capitalist crisis. In contrast to orthodox Marxism, Marcuse champions non-integrated forces of minorities and radical intelligentsia, attempting to nourish oppositional thought and behavior through promoting radical thinking and opposition, he considers the trends towards bureaucracy in Marxist countries to be as oppositional to freedom as those in the capitalist West. One-Dimensional Man was the book. Marcuse criticizes consumerism, arguing that it is a form of social control, he suggests that the system we live in may claim to be democratic, but it is authoritarian in that a few individuals dictate our perceptions of freedom by only allowing us choices to buy for happiness. In this state of "unfreedom", consumers act irrationally by working more than they are required to in order to fulfill actual basic needs, by ignoring the psychologically destructive effects, by ignoring the waste and environmental damage it causes, by searching for social connection through material items.
It is more irrational in the sense that the creation of new products, calling for the disposal of old products, fuels the economy and encourages the need to work more to buy more. An individual loses his humanity and becomes a tool in the industrial machine and a cog in the consumer machine. Additionally, advertising sustains consumerism, which disintegrates societal demeanor, delivered in bulk and informing the masses that happiness can be bought, an idea, psychologically damaging. There are alternatives to counter the consumer lifestyle. Anti-consumerism is a lifestyle that demotes any unnecessary consumption, as well as unnecessary work, etc, but this alternative is complicated by the extreme interpenetration of advertising and commodification because everything is a commodity those things that are actual needs. In a 1964 letter to The New York Review of Books, Georg H. Fromm, William Leiss et al. outlined the major themes of the book as follows: The concept of "one-dimensional man" asserts that there are other dimensions of human existence in addition to the present one and that these have been eliminated.
It maintains that the spheres of existence considered as private have now become part of the entire system of social domination of man by man, it suggests that totalitarianism can be imposed without terror. Technological rationality, which impoverishes all aspects of contemporary life, has developed the material bases of human freedom, but continues to serve the interests of suppression. There is a logic of domination in technological progress under present conditions: not quantitative accumulation, but a qualitative "leap" is necessary to transform this apparatus of destruction into an apparatus of life; the analysis proceeds on the basis of "negative" or dialectical thinking, which sees existing things as “other than they are” and as denying the possibilities inherent in themselves. It demands "freedom from the oppressive and ideological power of given facts." The book is pessimistic about the possibilities for overcoming the increasing domination and unfreedom of technological society. One-Dimensional Man was the book.
Critical theorist Douglas Kellner writes in Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism that One-Dimensional Man was one of the most important books of the 1960s and one of the most subversive books of the twentieth century. Despite its importance, it was—due to its subversive nature—severely criticized by both orthodox Marxists and academic theorists of various political and theoretical commitments. Despite its pessimism, represented by the citation of the words of Walter Benjamin at the end of this book that "Nur um der Hoffnungslosen willen ist uns die Hoffnung gegeben", it influenced many in the New Left as it articulated their growing dissatisfaction with both capitalist societies and Soviet communist societies. Philosopher Stephen Hicks argues that the book's popularity marked "a strong turn towards irrationality and violence among younger Leftists."The philosopher, Ronald Aronson, wrote that One-Dimensional Man is more prescient Marcuse could have realized and that it is more relevant today than ever.
Repressive desublimation Totalitarian democracy Minority rights J. L. Talmon Drux Flux, an animated short inspired
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, poet, social critic and religious author, considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. He wrote critical texts on organized religion, morality, ethics and the philosophy of religion, displaying a fondness for metaphor and parables. Much of his philosophical work deals with the issues of how one lives as a "single individual", giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment, he was against literary critics who defined idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, thought that Swedenborg, Fichte, Schelling and Hans Christian Andersen were all "understood" far too by "scholars". Kierkegaard's theological work focuses on Christian ethics, the institution of the Church, the differences between purely objective proofs of Christianity, the infinite qualitative distinction between man and God, the individual's subjective relationship to the God-Man Jesus the Christ, which came through faith.
Much of his work deals with Christian love. He was critical of the practice of Christianity as a state religion that of the Church of Denmark, his psychological work explored the emotions and feelings of individuals when faced with life choices. Kierkegaard's early work was written under the various pseudonyms that he used to present distinctive viewpoints and to interact with each other in complex dialogue, he explored complex problems from different viewpoints, each under a different pseudonym. He wrote many Upbuilding Discourses under his own name and dedicated them to the "single individual" who might want to discover the meaning of his works. Notably, he wrote: "scholarship want to teach that becoming objective is the way. Christianity teaches that the way is to become subjective, to become a subject." While scientists can learn about the world by observation, Kierkegaard emphatically denied that observation could reveal the inner workings of the world of the spirit. Some of Kierkegaard's key ideas include the concept of "subjective and objective truths", the knight of faith, the recollection and repetition dichotomy, the infinite qualitative distinction, faith as a passion, the three stages on life's way.
Kierkegaard wrote in Danish and the reception of his work was limited to Scandinavia, but by the turn of the 20th century his writings were translated into French and other major European languages. By the mid-20th century, his thought exerted a substantial influence on philosophy and Western culture. Kierkegaard was born to an affluent family in Copenhagen, his mother, Ane Sørensdatter Lund Kierkegaard, had served as a maid in the household before marrying his father, Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard. She was an unassuming figure: quiet and not formally educated, but Henriette Lund, her granddaughter, wrote that she "wielded the sceptre with joy and protected like a hen protecting her chicks", she wielded influence on her children so that Peter said that his brother preserved many of their mother's words in his writings. His father, on the other hand, was a well-to-do wool merchant from Jutland, he was a "very stern man, to all appearances dry and prosaic, but under his'rustic cloak' demeanor he concealed an active imagination which not his great age could blunt".
He was interested in philosophy and hosted intellectuals at his home. The young Kierkegaard read the philosophy of Christian Wolff, he preferred the comedies of Ludvig Holberg, the writings of Georg Johann Hamann, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Edward Young, Plato those referring to Socrates. Copenhagen in the 1830s and 1840s had crooked streets where carriages went. Kierkegaard loved to walk them. In 1848, Kierkegaard wrote, "I had real Christian satisfaction in the thought that, if there were no other, there was one man in Copenhagen whom every poor person could accost and converse with on the street. Our Lady's Church was at one end of the city. At the other end was the Royal Theatre where Fru Heiberg performed. Based on a speculative interpretation of anecdotes in Kierkegaard's unpublished journals a rough draft of a story called "The Great Earthquake", some early Kierkegaard scholars argued that Michael believed he had earned God's wrath and that none of his children would outlive him, he is said to have believed that his personal sins indiscretions such as cursing the name of God in his youth or impregnating Ane out of wedlock, necessitated this punishment.
Though five of his seven children died before he did, both Kierkegaard and his brother Peter Christian Kierkegaard outlived him. Peter, seven years Kierkegaard's elder became bishop in Aalborg. Julia Watkin thought Michael's early interest in the Moravian Church could have led him to a deep sense of the devastating effects of sin. Kierkegaard came to hope that no one would retain their sins though they have been forgiven, and by the same token that no one who believed in the forgiveness of sin would live their own life as an objection against the existence of forgiveness. He made the point; this fear of not finding forgiveness is devastating. Edna H. Hong quoted Kierkegaard in her 1984 book, For