Kierkegaard’s Mirrors

Kierkegaard's MirrorsKierkegaard’s Mirrors

Interest, Self, and Moral Vision

(Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010)

Available from Palgrave and Amazon

What is it to see the world, other people, and imagined situations not just as morally compelling, but as making personal demands of us? What is it to experience stories as speaking to us individually and directly? Kierkegaard’s Mirrors explores Kierkegaard’s unique and challenging answers to these questions.

Beginning with the structural account of consciousness offered in Johannes Climacus, this book develops a new phenomenological interpretation of what Kierkegaard calls ‘interest’: a self-reflexive mode of thought, vision and imagination that plays a central role in moral experience. Tracing this concept across Kierkegaard’s work takes us through topics such as consciousness, the ontology of selfhood, ethical imagination, admiration and imitation, seeing the other, metaphors of self-recognition and mirroring, our need for transcendent meaning, and the relationship between scholarship and subjective knowledge. ‘Interest’ equips us with a new understanding of Kierkegaard’s highly original normative, teleological account of moral vision.

“…Stokes’s book is, without doubt, one of the, if not the, best account of Kierkegaard as a philosopher and moral psychologist ever written. Kierkegaard’s Mirrors is essential reading for anyone interested in Kierkegaard” – Jamie Turnbull, British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19:1 (January 2011) pp.161-4

“In a wonderful exhibit of archival retrieval, Patrick Stokes has written a fine account of an underappreciated theme, interesse […] He’s found a powerful new prism through which to cast the beams of the enigmatic texts that concern us.” – Edward F. Mooney, Søren Kierkegaard Newsletter 56 (November 2010)

“Stokes’s turn to phenomenology to clarify Kierkegaard’s contribution to moral philosophy is original, constructive, rigorous and overall, I think, successful in its aims.[…] I hope that Stokes, and others, will continue to allow the insights of phenomenological analysis and Kierkegaard scholarship to advance contemporary moral philosophy.” – Eleanor Helms,International Philosophical Quarterly  50:3 (October 2010) pp.395-97

“…interesting and original” – Ionuţ Bârliba, “Interest as a Mirror to Our Own Self” Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Practical Philosophy 2:2 (December 2010) pp.553-61