(The study of religious dogmas, especially Christian dogmas)

From his book by Søren Kierkegaard. [An Introduction]

Edited by J E BRADBURN

If one wishes to discover the TRUTH; one need not look any further than this website.  For all the links, and text, are in place for you to make a decisive stand, in your home, or place of work. This website has been put in place over years of hard work, sweat and tears, and also TRUTH. The aim of this site, (which is free from advertisements and sponsorship) is to present you with the true way to God’s Kingdom.   This particular web page is taken from his book by Søren Kierkegaard. [An Introduction] and goes on to explain all about hereditary sin, and anxiety; during which he uncovers a great deal of dogmatics; leading the learner, by hand, to what one has been searching for. 

The introduction here is for you to get a taste of what is to come, and make a reconcilable deliberation on the part of your families to go along with it, there is absolutely nothing to worry about if you do.

Dogmatics Introduction.

The sense in which the subject of our deliberation is a task of psychological interest and the sense in which, after having been the task and interest of psychology, it points directly to dogmatics.The gain is always avenged, as is every unlawful acquisition, which cannot be owned legally or scientifically. Thus when an author entitles the last section of the LogicActuality,” he hereby gains the advantage of making it appear that in logic the highest has already been achieved, or if one prefers, the lowest. In the meantime, the loss is obvious, for neither logic nor actuality is served by placing actuality in the Logic. For the atheist, or the agnostic, the picture on the left with the words:

There are two ways to be fooled,


1.      One is to believe what isn’t true.

2.      The other is to refuse to believe what is true.




Here we have the dilemma of the ten tribes Some believe; others do not, which only indicate that the apostasy is here now also 

Actuality is not served thereby, for if logic has thought actuality (what in fact is), it has included something that it cannot assimilate (to integrate somebody into a larger group, so that differences are minimized or eliminated, or become integrated in this way), it has appropriated at the beginning what it should only preadisponere [Presuppose]. The penalty is obvious. Every deliberation about the nature of actuality [where we come from], is rendered difficult, and for a long time perhaps made impossible, since the word “actuality” must first have time to collect itself, time to forget the mistake.

Thus when in dogmatics faith is called the immediate (without pause or delay) without any further qualification, there is gained the advantage that everybody is convinced of the necessity  of not stopping with faith. The admission may be elicited (provoke a reaction: to cause or produce something as a reaction or response to a stimulus of some kind) even from one who subscribes to orthodoxy, because at first he perhaps does not discern the misunderstanding, that it does not have its source in a subsequent error but in that fundamental error. The loss is quite obvious. Faith loses by being regarded as the immediate, since it has been deprived of what lawfully belongs to it, namely, its historical presupposition. Dogmatics loses thereby, because it does not begin [understanding the Bible] where it properly should begin, namely, within the scope of an earlier beginning,

Instead of presupposing an earlier beginning, it ignores this and begins without ceremony, just as if it were logic. Logic does indeed begin with something produced by the subtlest abstraction, namely, what is most elusive: the immediate.

2 Peter 3:5—6 (KJV)

5 “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

6 “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:


What is quite proper in logic, namely, that immediacy is eo ipso cancelled, and becomes in dogmatics idle talk. Could it ever occur to anyone to stop with the immediate (with no further qualification), since the immediate is annulled (make something invalid) at the very moment it is mentioned, just as a somnambulist wakes up at the very moment his name is mentioned? Thus when someone finds, and almost solely in propaedeutic investigation (a preliminary course of study that precedes more advanced instruction). The word “reconciliation [Forsoning: reconciliation] used to designate speculative knowledge, or to designate the identity of the perceiving subject and the object perceived, or to designate the subjective-objective, etc., it is obvious that the author brilliant and that by means of this brilliance he has explained every riddle, especially to all those who even in matters of science use less care than they do in daily life, where they listen carefully to the words of the riddle before they attempt to guess its meaning. Otherwise he gains the incomparable reputation of having posed by virtue of his explanation a new riddle, namely, how it could ever occur to any man that this might be the explanation.

The notion that thought on the whole has reality was assumed by all ancient and medieval philosophy.  With Kant, this assumption became doubtful.

If it is now assumed that Hegelian philosophy has actually grasped Kant’s scepticism thoroughly (something that might continue to remain a great question despite all that Hegel and his school have done with the help of the slogan “method and manifestation” to conceal what Schelling with the slogan “Intellectual intuition and construction” openly acknowledged as a new point of departure) and now has reconstructed the earlier in a higher form and in such a way that thought does not possess reality by virtue of a presupposition—does it therefore also follow that this reality, which is consciously brought forth by thought, is a reconciliation? In that case philosophy has only been brought back to where the beginning was made in the old days, when reconciliation did in fact have enormous significance.

There is an old, respectable philosophical terminology: thesis, (lengthy academic paper) antithesis, (direct opposite of something), synthesis. (a new unified whole resulting from the combination of different ideas, influences, or objects).

A more recent terminology has been chosen in which “meditation” takes the third place. Is this such an extraordinary advance? “Meditation is equivocal (open to more than one interpretation), for it suggests simultaneously the relation between the two and the result of the relation, that in which the two relate themselves to each other. It indicates movement as well as repose (X1 Meta).  Whether this is perfection must be determined by subjecting meditation to a more dialectical test (philosophy achieved or attempted by dialectic), but, unfortunately, this is something for which we still must wait. One rejects synthesis and says “meditation.

Very well. Brilliance, however demands more—one says “reconciliation” [Forsoning], and what is the result? The propaedeutic investigations (providing preparatory instruction) are not served by it, for naturally they gain as little in clarity as does the truth, as little as a man’s soul gains in salvation (act of saving from harm) by having a title conferred upon him. On the contrary, two sciences, ethics and dogmatics, become radically confused, especially when after the introduction of the term “reconciliation where the expression "make reconciliation" of the KJV is more succinct in the ... be needed to impart the “knowledge” of God.

It is further pointed out that logic and λόуoς [the dogmatical] correspond to each other, and logic is the proper doctrine of λόуoς. Ethics and dogmatics struggle over reconciliation in a confinium [border area] fraught with fate.

Repentance and guilt torment forth reconciliation ethically, while dogmatics, in its receptivity [willing to accept] to the proffered reconciliation (to hold something out to somebody so that he or she can take or grasp it), has the historically concrete immediacy with which it becomes its discourse in the great dialogue of science. And now what will be the result? Presumably language will celebrate a great sabbatical year in which speech and thought may be at rest so that we can begin at the beginning.

In logic, the negative is used as the impelling power to bring movement into all things. One must have movement in logic no matter how it is brought about, and by no matter by what means.

The negative lends a hand, and what the negative cannot accomplish, play on words and platitudes can, just as when the negative itself becomes a play on words.


A brief explanation of Append 104 Prepositions

Exempli gratia: Wesen ist was ist gewesen; ist gewesen is a tempus praeteritum  of seyn, ergo, Wesen is das aufgehobene Seyn, the seyn that has been [For example: Essence is what has been; “has been” is past tense of “to be,” ergo, essence is annulled being, being that has been0. This is a logical movement if anyone would take the trouble to collect and put together all the strange pixies and goblins who like busy clerks bring about movement in Hegelian logic (such as this is in itself and as it has been improved by the [Hegelian] school), a later age would perhaps be surprised to see that what are regarded as discarded witticisms once played an important role in logic, not as incidental explanations and ingenious remarks but as masters of movement, which made Hegel’s logic something of a miracle and gave logical thought feet to move on, without anyone’s being able to observe them. Just as Lulu comes running without anyone’s being able to observe the mechanism of movement, so the long mantle of admiration conceals the machinery of logical movement. To have brought movement into logic is the merit of Hegel. In comparison with this, it is hardly worth mentioning the unforgettable merit that was Hegel’s, namely, that in many ways he corrected the categorical definitions and their arrangement, a merit he disdained (extreme contempt or disgust for something or somebody) in order to run aimlessly.


In logic, no movement must come about, for logic is, and whatever is logical only is. This  impotence of the logical consists In the transition of logic into becoming, where existence (the state of being real, actual, or current, rather than imagined, invented, or obsolete and actuality come forth). And actuality come forth. (something that is real, as opposed to what is expected, intended, or feared).  So when logic becomes deeply absorbed in the concretion of the categories (the process in which separate parts or particles come together into a solid mass), that which was from the beginning is ever the same.

Every movement, if for the moment one wishes to use this expression, is an immanent movement (existing within or inherent in something), which in a profound sense is no movement at all.

One can easily convince oneself of this by considering that the concept of movement is itself a transcendence that has no place in logic (to go beyond a limit or range, e.g. of thought or belief).

The negative, then. Is immanent in the movement, is something vanishing, is that which is annulled.


Ecclesiastes 12:7 (KJV) “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.


If everything comes about in this manner, nothing comes about at all, and the negative becomes an illusion. Nevertheless, precisely in order to make something come about in logic, the negative becomes something more; it becomes that which brings forth the opposition (a disapproving attitude towards something and a wish to prevent it, or action taken to show disapproval of and prevent something), not a negation but a contraposition (a position opposite to or against something). And thus the negative is not the stillness of the immanent movement; it is “the necessary other,” indeed, something that may be very necessary for logic in order to bring about movement, but it is something that the negative is not.

Turning from logic to ethics, we find again the same indefatigable negative that is active in the entire Hegelian philosophy. Here one is astonished to discover that the negative is evil

As a result, confusion is in full swing and there are no limits to cleverness, and what Mme Stael-Holstein has said of Schelling’s philosophy, namely, that it makes a man clever for his whole life, applies in every way to Hegelianism (the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel, which proposes a unified solution to all philosophical problems through development of a reasoning process that ultimately interprets reality by way of the dialectic method). One can see how illogical the movements must be in logic, since the negative is the evil, and how unethical they must be in ethics, since the evil is the negative. In logic they are too much and in ethics too little. They fit nowhere if they are supposed to fit both. If ethics has no other transcendence, it is essentially logic. If logic is to have as much transcendence as common propriety requires of ethics, it is no longer logic.

What has been developed here is probably too complicated in proportion to the space that it occupies (and yet, considering the importance of the subject it deals with, it is far from too lengthy); however it is in no way extraneous, because the details are selected in order to allude to the subject of the book. The examples are taken from a greater realm, but what happens in the greater can repeat itself in the lesser, and the misunderstanding is similar, even if there are less harmful consequences. He who presumes to develop the system is responsible for much, but he who writes a monograph (a scholarly article, web page, or book on a single topic) can and also ought to be faithful over a little.

The present work has set as its task the psychological treatment of the concept of “anxiety,” but in such a way that it constantly keeps in mente [in mind] and before its eye the dogma of hereditary sin. Accordingly, it must also, although tacitly so (understood or implied without being stated openly), deal with the concept of sin.

Sin, however, is no subject for psychological concern, and only by submitting to the service of a misplaced brilliance could it be dealt with psychologically. Sin has its specific place, or more correctly, it has no place, and this is its specific nature. When sin is treated in a place other than its own, it is altered by being subjected to a nonessential (not absolutely necessary) refraction (physics the change in direction that occurs when a wave of energy such as light passes from one medium to another of a different density, e.g. from air to water) of a reflexion. The concept is altered, and thereby the mood that properly corresponds to the correct concept is also disturbed, and instead of the endurance of the true mood there is the fleeting phantom of false moods (just as in the picture on the left). Thus when sin is brought into aesthetics, the mood becomes either light minded or melancholy, for the category in which sin lies is that of contradiction, and this is either comical or tragic. The mood is therefore altered, because the mood that corresponds to sin is earnest.

The concept of sin is also altered, because, whether it becomes comical or a tragedy, it becomes in any case something that endures, or something nonessential that is annulled, whereas, according to its true concept, sin is to be overcome In a deeper sense, the comic and the tragic have no enemy but only a bogeyman at which one either weeps or laughs. If sin is dealt within metaphysics, the mood becomes that of dialectical uniformity and disinterestedness, which ponder sin as something that cannot withstand the scrutiny of thought.

The concept of sin is also altered, for sin is indeed to be overcome, yet not as something to which thought is unable to give life, but as that which is, and as such concerns everyman.

If sin is dealt with in psychology, the mood becomes that of persistent observation, like the fearlessness of a secret agent, but not that of the victorious flight of earnestness out of sin. The concept becomes a different concept, for sin becomes a state. However, sin is not a state. Its idea is that its concept (something thought, or imagined) is continually annulled (make something invalid). As a state (de potentia [according to possibility]), it is not, but de actu or in actu [according to actuality or in actuality] it is, again and again. The mood of psychology would be antipathetic curiosity, whereas the proper mood is earnestness expressed in courageous resistance. The mood of psychology is that of a discovering anxiety, and in its anxiety psychology portrays sin, while again and again it is in anxiety over the portrayal that itself brings forth. When sin is dealt with in this manner, it becomes stronger, because psychology relates itself to it in a feminine way. That this state has its truth is certain; that it occurs more or less in every human life before the ethical manifest itself is certain. But in being considered in this manner sin does not become what it is, but a more or less.

Whenever the issue of sin is dealt with, one can observe by the very mood whether the concept is the correct one. For instance, whenever sin is spoken of as a disease, an abnormality, a poison, or a disharmony, the concept is falsified.

Sin does not properly belong in any science, but is the subject of the sermon, in which the single individualspeaks as the single individual to the single individual.

In our day, scientific self-importance has tricked pastors into becoming something like professional clerks who also serve science and find it beneath their dignity to preach. Is it any wonder then that preaching has come to be regarded as a very lowly are? But to preach is really the most difficult of all the arts and is essentially the art that Socrates praised, the art of being able to converse.

It goes without saying that the need is not for someone in the congregation to provide an answer, or that it would be of help continually to introduce a respondent (somebody who replies to something). What Socrates criticised in the Sophists

(a member of a school of ancient Greek professional philosophers who were expert in and taught the skills of rhetoric, [pretentious words] argument, and debate, but were criticized for specious reasoning [appearing to be true] but really false . The sophists were active before and during the time of Socrates and Plato, who were their main critics), when he made the distinction that they indeed knew how to make speeches but not how to converse, was that they could talk at length about every subject but lacked the element of appropriation (the taking of something that belongs to or is associated with somebody else, especially without permission). Appropriation is precisely the secret of conversation.

Corresponding to the concept of sin is earnestness. Now ethics should be a science in which sin might be expected to find a place. But here is a great difficulty. Ethics is still an ideal science, and not only in the sense that every science is ideal Ethics proposes to bring ideality into actuality. On the other hand, it is not the nature of its movement to raise actuality up into ideaility. [If this is considered more carefully, there will be occasions enough to notice the brilliance of reading the last section of the Logic “Actuality,” inasmuch as ethics never reaches it. The actuality with which logic ends means, therefore, no more in regard to actuality than the “being” with which it begins.]

Ethics points to ideality as a task and assumes that everyman possesses the requisite conditions. Thus ethics develops a contradiction, inasmuch as it makes clear both the difficulty and the impossibility. What is said of the law is also true of ethics: it is a disciplinarian that demands, and by its demands only judges but does not bring forth life. Only Greek ethics made an exception, and that was because it was not ethics in the proper sense but retained an esthetical factor. This appears clearly in its definition of virtue (the quality of being morally good or righteous) and in what Aristotle frequently, also in ETHICA NICOMACHEA, states with amiable Greek naiveté, namely, that virtue alone does not make a man happy and content, but he must have health, friends, and earthly goods and be happy in his family. (Which only God brings forth). The more ideal ethic is, the better. But: and it’s a big but, It must not permit itself to be distracted by the babble that is useless to require the impossible. For even to listen to such talk is unethical and is something for which ethics has neither time nor opportunity.

Ethics will have nothing to do with bargaining, nor can one in this way reach actuality. To reach actuality, the whole movement must be reversed. This ideal characteristic of ethics is what tempts one to use first metaphysical (relating to the poetic style of John Donne, George Herbert, and other early 17th-century English poets who used consciously intellectual language and elaborate metaphors that compared dissimilar things), the estheic, and then psychological categories in the treatment of it. But ethic, more than any other science, must resist such temptations (of greed) It is therefore, impossible for anyone to write an ethics without altogether different categories in reserve. Sin then, belongs to ethics only insofar as upon this concept it is shipwrecked with the aid of repentance. 


In his work Fear and Trembling (Copenhagen1843), Johannes de Silenteo   makes several observations concerning this point. In this book, the author several times allows the desired ideality of esthetics to be shipwrecked on the required ideality of ethics, in order through these collisions to bring to light the religious ideality that precisely is the ideality of actuality, and therefore just as desirable as that of esthetics and not as impossible as the ideality of ethics. This is accomplished in such a way that the religious ideality breaks forth in the dialectical leap and in the positive mood—“Behold all things have become new


2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

As well as in the negative mood that is the passion of the absurd (lacking any meaning that would give purpose to life), to which the concept “repetition” corresponds. Either all of existence [Tilværelsen] comes to an end in the demand of ethics, or the condition is provided and the whole of life and of existence begin anew, nor through an immanent continuity with the former existence, which is a contradiction, but through transcendence. This transcendence separates repetition from the former existence [Tilværelrelse] by such a chasm that one can only figuratively say that the former and the latter relate themselves to each other as the totality of living creatures in the ocean relates itself to those in the air and to those upon the earth. Yet, according to the opinion of some natural of some natural scientists, the former as a prototype prefigures in its imperfection all that the latter reveals. With regard to this category, one may consult Repetition by Constantin Constantius (Copenhagen 1843). This is no doubt a witty book, as the author also intended it to be. To my knowledge, he is indeed the first to have a lively understanding of “repetition” and to have allowed the pregnancy of the concept to be seen in the explanation of the relation of the ethnical and the Christian, by directing attention to the invisible point and to the discrimen rerum [turning point] where one science breaks against another until a new science comes to light. 

But what he has discovered he has concealed again by arraying (a large number or wide range of people or things) the concept in the in the jest of an analogous (describes body parts and organs that have equivalent functions but that have evolved independently of one another in different plants or animals. The wings of birds, bats, and insects are analogous) conception. What has motivated him to do this is difficult to say, or more correctly, difficult to understand. He himself mentions that he writes in this manner so that “the heretics (a holder or adherent of an opinion or belief that contradicts established religious teaching) would not understand him.” Since he wanted to occupy himself with repetition only esthetically (appreciating beauty) and psychologically, everything had to be arranged humorously so as to bring about the impression that the word in one instant means everything and in the next instant the more insignificant of things, and the transition (a process or period in which something undergoes a change and passes from one state, stage, form, or activity to another), or rather the constant falling down from the clouds, is motivated by its farcical opposite. In the meantime, he has stated the matter very precisely on page 34; “repetition is the interest [interesse] of metaphysics, and also the interest upon which metaphysics comes to grief; repetition is the watchword in every ethical view, repetition is coditio sine quo non [the indispensable condition] for every issue of dogmatics.” The first statement has reference to the thesis as such that metaphysics is disinterested, something that Kant had said about esthetics. As soon as interest steps forth, metaphysics (the branch of philosophy concerned with the study of the nature of being and beings, existence, time and space, and causality) steps aside. For this reason, the word is italicised. In actuality, the whole interest of subjectivity steps forth, metaphysics steps aside. For this reason, the word is italicised in actuality, the whole interest of subjectivity steps forth, and now metaphysics runs aground. If repetition is not posited (put something forward), ethics becomes a binding power. No doubt it is for this reason that the author states that repetition is watchword in very ethical view. If repetition is not posited, dogmatics cannot exist at all, for repetition begins in faith, and faith the organ for issues of dogma. In the realm of nature repetition in its immovable necessity. In the realm of the spirit, the task is not to wrest a change from repetition or to find one moderately comfortable during the repetition, as if spirit stood only in an external relation to the repetition of spirit (according to which good and evil would alternate  like summer and winter), but too transform repetition into something inward, into freedom’s own task, into its higher interest, so that while everything else changes, it can actually realise repetition. At this point the finite spirit despairs.

This is something Constantin has suggested by stepping aside himself and by allowing repetition to break forth in the young man by virtue of the religious. For this reason Constantin ment6ions several times that repetition is a religious category. Too transcendent for him (superior in quality or achievement), that it is the movement by virtue of the absurd (ridiculous because of being irrational, incongruous, or illogical), and on page 142 it is further stated that eternity is the true repetition. All of this professor Heiberg failed to notice, instead, through his learning which like his New year Gift is superbly elegant and neat, he kindly wished to help this work [Repetition] to become a tasteful and elegant triviality (the condition or quality of having little importance or seriousness) by pompously bring the matter to the point where Constantin begins, or, to recall a recent work, by bringing the matter to the point where the esthete [aesthete] in Either/Or had brought it in “The Rotation of Crops.” If Constantin had actually felt himself flattered by enjoying the singular honour of having been brought into such undeniably select company in this manner, he must, in my opinion, since he wrote the book have gone stark mad. But if, on the other hand, and author such as he, writing to be misunderstood, forgot himself and did not have ataraxia (freedom from worry or any other preoccupation) enough to count it to his credit that Professor Heiberg  had failed to understand him, he must again be stark mad. His is something I need not fear, since the circumstance that hitherto he has made no reply to Professor Heiberg indicates sufficiently that he understands himself.


If ethics is to include sin, its ideality comes to an end. The more ethics remains in its ideality, and never becomes so inhuman as to lose sight of actuality, but corresponds to actuality by presenting itself as the task of every man in such a way that it will make him the true and the whole man, the man kat’ έξoξήν [in an imminent sense (about to occur)], the more it increases the tension of the difficulty. In the struggle to actualise the task of ethics, sin shows itself not as not as something that belongs only accidentally to the accidental individual, but as something withdraws nearer deeper and deeper as a deeper and deeper presupposition, as a presupposition that goes beyond the individual. Then all is lost for ethics, and ethics has helped to bring about the loss of all. A category that lies entirely beyond its reach has appeared. Hereditary sin makes everything still more desperate, that is, it removes the difficulty, yet not with the help of ethics but with the help of dogmatics (the study of religious dogmas). As all ancient knowledge and speculation was based on the presupposition that thought has reality [Realitet], so all ancient ethics was based on the presupposition that virtue (the quality of being morally good or righteous) can be realised.  Sin’s scepticism is altogether foreign to paganism. Sin is for the ethical consciousness what error is for the knowledge of it—the particular exception that proves nothing.

With dogmatics begins the science that, in contrast to that science called ideal stricte [in the strict sense], namely, ethics, proceeds from actuality. It begins with the actual in order to raise it up into ideality. It does not deny the presence of sin; on the contrary, it presupposes it and explains it by presupposing (to make something necessary if a particular thing is to be shown to be true or false) hereditary sin. However, since dogmatics is very seldom treated purely, hereditary sin is often brought within its confines in such a way that the impression of heterogeneous (diverse in character or content) originality of dogmatics does not always come clearly into view but becomes confused. This also happens when one finds in it a dogma concerning angels, concerning the Holy Scriptures, etc. Therefore dogmatics must not explain hereditary sin but rather explain it by presupposing it, like that vortex (a whirling mass of something, especially water or air, that draws everything near it towards its centre) about which Greek speculation concerning nature had so much to say, a moving something that no science can grasp.

That such is the case with dogmatics and will ready be granted if once again time is taken to understand Schleiermacher’s  immortal service to this science (taken to understand Schleiermacher's immortal service to this science. He was left behind long ago when men chose Hegel. Yet Schleiermacher was a Greek thinker). He was left behind long ago when men chose Hegel. Yet Schleiermacher was a thinker in the beautiful Greek sense, a thinker who spoke of what he knew. Hegel on the contrary, despite all his outstanding ability and stupendous learning, reminds us again and again by his performance that he was in the German sense a professor of philosophy on a large scale, because he [at any price] must explain things.

So the new science begins with dogmatics in the same sense that immanent-al (existing within or inherent in something) science begins with metaphysics. Here ethics again finds its place as science that has as a task for actuality the dogmatic consciousness of actuality. This ethics does not ignore sin, and it does not have its ideality in making ideal demands; rather, it has its ideality in the penetrating consciousness of actuality, of the actuality of sin, but note, carefully, not with metaphysical light mindedness or with psychological concupiscence (powerful feelings of physical desire).

It is easy to see the difference in the movements, to see that the ethics of which we are now speaking belongs to a different order of things. The first ethics was shipwrecked on the sinfulness of the single individual Therefore, instead of being able to explain this sinfulness the first ethics fell into an even greater and ethically more enigmatic (having a quality of mystery and ambiguity and so difficult to understand or interpret) ambiguity (a situation in which something can be understood in more than one way and it is not clear which meaning is intended), since the sin of the individual expanded into the sin of the whole race. At this point, dogmatics came to the rescue with hereditary sin.

The new ethics presupposes dogmatics, and by means of the hereditary sin it explains the sin of the single individual, while at the same time it sets ideality as a task, not by a movement from above [Heaven] and downward [to earth]; but from below [earth] and upward [to heaven and God].

It is common knowledge that Aristotle used the term [first philosophy] primarily to designate metaphysics, though he included within it a part that according to our conception belongs to theology. In paganism it is quite in order for theology to be treated there. It is related to the same lack of an infinite penetrating reflexion that endowed the theatre in Paganism with reality as a kind of divine worship. If we now extract from this ambiguity (a situation in which something can be understood in more than one way and it is not clear which meaning is intended), we could retain the designation and by [what Aristotle has written] understand that totality of science which we might call “ethical,” whose essence is immanence and is expressed in Greek thought by “recollection,” and by secunda philosophia [second philosophy] understand that totality of science whose essence is transcendence or repetition. The concept of sin does not properly belong in any science, only the second ethics candela with its manifestation, but not with its coming into existence. If any other science were to treat of it, the concept would be confused.

To get closer to our present project, such would also be the case if psychology were to do so.  The subject of which psychology treats must be something in repose (a state of rest or inactivity) that remains a restless repose, not something restless that always either produces itself or is repressed (not acknowledging strong personal feelings, particularly of anger or sexual desire). But this abiding something out of which sin constantly arises, not by necessity (for a becoming by necessity is a state, as, for example, the whole history of the plant is a state)  but by freedom—this abiding something, this predisposing (to make somebody feel favourably about somebody or something else in advance) presupposition (to make something necessary if a particular thing is to be shown to be true or false. The sentence 'Fred loves his daughter' presupposes that Fred has a daughter). But by freedom—this abiding something, this predisposing presupposition , sin’s real possibility, is a subject of interest for psychology. *Schelling called attention to this Aristotelian [Aristotle] term in support of his own distinction between negative and positive philosophy. By negative philosophy he means “logic”; that was clear enough. On the other hand, it was less clear to me what he really meant by positive philosophy, except insofar as it became evident that it was the philosophy that he himself wished to provide. However, since I have nothing to go by except my own opinion, it is not feasible to pursue this subject further.

** Constantin Constantinius has called attention to this by pointing out that immanence runs aground upon “interest.” With this concept, actuality for the first time properly comes into view.

That which can be the concern of psychology and with which it can occupy itself is not that sin comes into existence [bliver til], but how it can come into existence. Psychology can bring its concern to the point where it seems as if sin were there, 


Flavius Josephus

Verse 46. God said, “I had before determined about you both, [Adam & Eve} how you might lead a happy life, without any affliction, and care, and vexation of soul; and that all things which might contribute to your enjoyment and pleasure should grow up by My providence, of their own accord, without your own labour and painstaking, which would soon bring on old age; and death would not be at any remote distance;

Verse 47 but now thou hast abused this My good will, and hast disobeyed My commands; for thy silence is not the sign of thy virtue, but of thy evil conscience.”


But the next thing, that sin is there, that sin is there, is qualitatively (quality) different from the fist. The manner in which this presupposition for scrupulous psychological contemplation and observation appears to be more and more comprehensive is the interest of psychology. Psychology may abandon itself, so to speak, to the disappointment that sin is there as an actuality (something that is real, as opposed to what is expected, intended, or feared). But this last disappointment reveals the impotence of psychology and merely shows that its service has come to an end. That human nature is so constituted (to be, amount to, or have the status of a particular thing) that it makes sin possible is, psychologically speaking, quite correct, but wanting to make the possibility of sin its actuality (to be, amount to, or have the status of a particular thing) is revolting to ethics, and to dogmatics it sounds like blasphemy, because freedom is never possible, as soon as it is, it is actual (real and existing as fact), in the same sense as it was said in an older philosophy that if God’s existence [Tilvævelse] is possible it is necessary.

As soon as sin is actually posited (to put forward for consideration something such as a suggestion, assumption, or fact) ethics is immediately on the spot, (the study of moral standards and how they affect conduct) and now ethics follow every move sin makes. How sin came into the world is not the concern of ethics, apart from the fact that it is certain that sin came into the world as sin. But still less than the concern of ethics with sin’s coming into existence is its concern with the still life of sin’s possibility.

If one asks more specifically in what sense and to what extent psychology pursues the observation of its object, it is obvious in itself and from the preceding that every observation of the actuality of sin as an object of thought is irrelevant to it and that of as observation it does not belong to ethics, for ethics is never observing but always accusing, judging, and acting. Furthermore, it is obvious in itself as well as from the preceding that phycology has nothing to do with the detail of the empirically (based on or characterized by observation and experiment instead of theory) actual  except insofar as this lies outside of sin. Indeed, as a science psychology can never deal empirically with the detail that belongs to its domain, but the more concrete psychology becomes [human], the more the detail attains a scientific representation. 

In our day, this science, which indeed more than any other is allowed to intoxicate itself in the foaming multifariousness (including parts, things, or people of many different kinds) of life, has become as abstemious (not indulging in or characterized by excessive eating or drinking) and ascetic (choosing or reflecting austerity and self-denial as personal or religious discipline) as a flagellant (a penitent who whips himself or herself as a means of repentance). However, this is not the fault of science, but its devotees. On the other hand, when it comes to sin, the whole content of actuality is denied to psychology (something that is real, as opposed to what is expected, intended, or feared) Only the possibility of sin still belongs to it. But for ethics (the study of moral standards and how they affect conduct) the possibility of sin never occurs. Ethics never allows itself to be fooled and does not waste time on such deliberation. Psychology, on the other hand, loves these, and as it sits and traces the contours and calculates the angles of possibility, it does not allow itself to be disturbed any more than does Archimedes.

As psychology now becomes deeply absorbed in the possibility of sin, it is unwittingly in the service of another science that only waits for it to finish so that it can begin and assist psychology to the explanation. This science is not ethics, for ethics has nothing to do with this possibility. This science is dogmatics, and here in turn the issue of hereditary sin appears. While psychology thoroughly explores the real possibility of sin, dogmatics explains hereditary sin, that is, the ideal possibility of sin. The second ethics, however, has nothing to do with the possibility of sin or with hereditary sin.

1.      The first ethics ignores sin.

2.      The second ethics has the actuality (something that is real, as opposed to what is expected, intended, or feared) of sin within its scope, and here psychology can intrude only through a misunderstanding

If what has been developed here is correct, it is easily seen that the author is quite justified (by having an acceptable reason for the action taken) in calling the present work a psychological deliberation, and also how this deliberation, insofar as it becomes conscious of its relation to science, belongs to the domain of psychology and in turn tends towards dogmatics. Psychology has been called the doctrine of the subjective spirit. If this is pursued more accurately, it will become apparent how psychology, when it comes to the issue of sin, must first pass over [slaa over] into the doctrine of the absolute spirit Here lies the place of dogmatics.


1.      The first ethics presupposes [metaphysics] (to make something necessary if a particular thing is to be shown to be true or false. The sentence 'Fred loves his daughter' presupposes that Fred has a daughter)

2.      The second ethics presupposes dogmatics (the study of religious dogmas, especially Christian dogmas) but completes it also in such a way that here, as everywhere, the presupposition is brought out. (See image above)


This was the task of the introduction. The introduction may be correct, while the deliberation itself concerning the concept of anxiety (nervousness or agitation, often about something that is going to happen) may be entirely incorrect. Whether this is the case remains to be seen.


The book in question, should you want to read it; is available online from Amazon and is called The Concept of Anxiety by Søren Kierkegaard