Jon Stewart


Ph.d., Dr. habil. theol. & phil.
Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
Foreign member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters

 
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Welcome


Contact

Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies                  

Harvard University

27 Kirkland Street

Cambridge, MA 02138


E-mail: js@jonstewart.dk

E-mail: jon_stewart@fas.harvard.edu

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Stewart_(philosopher)



Current Events



Interview

The book Søren Kierkegaard: Subjectivity, Irony, and the Crisis of Modernity, (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2015) has recently appeared in a Portuguese translation. See the interview with Jon Stewart in the Brazilian journal Fausto Mag. on occasion of the translation. (December 2017.)

Read the interview in English

Read the interview in Portuguese

Soren Kierkegaard: Subjetividade, ironia e a crise da modernidade, trans. by Humberto Araújo Quaglio de Souza, Petrópolis RJ: Editora Vozes 2017.


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“The Role of the Editor and Translator in Kierkegaard Reception”

Eastern Division Meeting of The American Philosophical Association
The Søren Kierkegaard Society’s annual meeting
Session: “Translation and History of Books: Problems with Kierkegaard in Print”
Savannah, Georgia
January 5, 2018


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The Completion of
Kierkegaard Research: Sources, Reception and Resources

After more than a decade of work, the series Kierkegaard Research: Sources, Reception and Resources has now been completed.

The first tome of the series was published back in 2007, and now with the publication of volume 21, the three-tome Cumulative Index, the series is finally finished. In all, the series contains 58 individual tomes and a total of 1127 articles by more than 200 Kierkegaard scholars from around the world.

From 2007 until 2015 Kierkegaard Research: Sources, Reception and Resources was published by Ashgate Publishing (Aldershot). The final volumes of the series that appeared in 2016 and 2017 were published by Ashgate’s successor, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group (London and New York).

Read more about the project and the individual volumes

Download brochure

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Søren Kierkegaard: Subjectivity, Irony and the Crisis of Modernity

An online course in Coursera

It is often claimed that relativism, subjectivism and nihilism are typically modern philosophical problems that emerge with the breakdown of traditional values, customs and ways of life. The result is the absence of meaning, the lapse of religious faith, and feeling of alienation that is so widespread in modernity.

The Danish thinker Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55) gave one of the most penetrating analyses of this complex phenomenon of modernity. But somewhat surprisingly he seeks insight into it not in any modern thinker but rather in an ancient one, the Greek philosopher Socrates.

In this course we will explore how Kierkegaard deals with the problems associated with relativism, the lack of meaning and the undermining of religious faith that are typical of modern life. His penetrating analyses are still highly relevant today and have been seen as insightful for the leading figures of Existentialism, Post-Structuralism and Post-Modernism.

To date more than 70,000 students from around the world have been involved in the course. The course is absolutely free of charge. No prior knowledge is required.

The course can now be taken on an on-demand basis, and thus students can start at any time and can follow the video lectures at their own pace.




Recent Publications


Soren Kierkegaard: Subjetividade, ironia e a crise da modernidade, trans. by Humberto Araújo Quaglio de Souza, Petrópolis RJ: Editora Vozes 2017
(the Portuguese translation of Søren Kierkegaard: Subjectivity, Irony, and the Crisis of Modernity, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2015).

Este livro examina a vida e a obra desse famoso escritor religioso dinamarquês. Kierkegaard foi uma figura singular que tem inspirado, provocado, fascinado e irritado as pessoas desde os tempos em que andava pelas ruas de Copenhague. No fim de sua vida, Kierkegaard afirmou que o único modelo que ele teve para sua obra foi o filósofo grego Sócrates. Este livro faz dessa declaração seu ponto de partida. Jon Stewart investiga o que Kierkegaard quis dizer com essa afirmação, e mostra como diversos aspectos de seus escritos e de sua estratégia argumentativa remontam a Sócrates.

Read more


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Soren Kierkegaard: subjetividad, ironía y la crisis de la Modernidad
Translated by Azucena Palavicini

         Mexico City: Universidad Iberoamericana 2017.
         222pp.


En este libro el profesor Jon Stewart nos introduce en la originalidad filosófica de Kierkegaard por medio del estudio de la génisis de su pensamiento en dos ámbitos complementarios. Por una parte, hace un interesante estudio histórico de la vida intelectual y cultural danesa del siglo XIX, y la forma en que Kierkegaard asimiló y debatió muchas de sus ideas. Por otra parte, destaca la enorme influencia de Sócrates, en aspectos como la comunicación indirecta, el uso de seudónimos, la ironía, su crítica a la filosofía, entre otros. El profesor Jon Stewart es un reconocido especialista del filósofo danés, autor prolijo que ha contribuido como principal editor en los importantes proyectos: Kierkegaard Research y The Golden Age.

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Magnús Eiríksson: A Forgotten Contemporary of Kierkegaard
ed. by Gerhard Schreiber and Jon Stewart

Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press 2017
(Danish Golden Age Studies, vol. 10)

xiv+487pp.


The present volume is the first anthology devoted to the Icelandic theologian and religious author Magnús Eiríksson (1806-81), a forgotten contemporary of Søren Kierkegaard in Golden Age Denmark. With his remarkably modern views, thoughts and ideas of society, politics and religion, Eiríksson has taken on the role of a widely unknown pioneer in various contexts. As early as in his debut book, On Baptists and Infant Baptism (1844), Eiríksson made a name for himself as a devoted advocate of tolerance and freedom of thought and conscience in matters of religion. Although Eiríksson’s numerous and multifaceted writings provoked a wide spectrum of reactions by members of the Danish society, the central figures of that time constantly took care to avoid engaging Eiríksson or his ideas in public debate and instead met him with “lofty silence.”

The present volume aims to end this silence, which has continued after Eiríksson’s death, and it marks the beginning of a serious discussion of Eiríksson’s works and ideas. The articles featured in this anthology are written by international scholars from different fields. With its strategic organization, the collection covers the key topics of Eiríksson’s writings and provides insights into his historical-cultural background. Understanding Eiríksson’s polemics with his Copenhagen contemporaries—such as Hans Lassen Martensen, Henrik Nicolai Clausen, N.F.S. Grundtvig and Søren Kierkegaard—on some of the main theological issues of the day sheds light on the period as a whole and provides a new perspective on the complex and diverse discussions concerning religion in the Golden Age. With its first international bibliography on Eiríksson, an accurate and reliable edition of the auction catalogue of Eiríksson’s private library and its context-sensitive indices, this anthology will be a solid foundation and ideal starting point for any future research on this almost forgotten thinker.




Forthcoming Publications



Sibbern’s Remarks and Investigations Primarily Concerning
Hegel’s Philosophy

trans. by Jon Stewart, Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press 2018
(Texts from Golden Age Denmark, vol. 7)
xvi+454pp.

 

One of Denmark’s greatest philosophers during its greatest philosophical period, Frederik Christian Sibbern (1785-1872) was a major figure on the landscape of the Danish Golden Age. Profoundly influenced by German philosophy, he was personally acquainted with figures such as Fichte, Schleiermacher, Goethe and Schelling. Sibbern had long been interested in the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel but had never written any extended analysis of it.

When Johan Ludvig Heiberg unveiled his new philosophical journal Perseus in 1837, as a part of his Hegelian campaign, he provided Sibbern with the occasion that he had been waiting for. In a series of eight installments in the journal, Maanedsskrift for Litteratur, Sibbern published an extensive critical account of Hegel’s philosophy under the guise of a review of the first volume of Heiberg’s Perseus. In the fall of 1838 he collected the first four installments of this review and published them as an independent monograph entitled, Remarks and Investigations Primarily Concerning Hegel’s Philosophy.

This work represents arguably the most exhaustive, detailed and profound analysis of Hegel’s philosophy ever to appear in the Danish language, anticipating many aspects of Kierkegaard’s famous criticism. With the present volume Sibbern appears in English for the first time. Now international readers can catch a glimpse of this towering philosophical genius and gain a deeper appreciation for the significance of his contributions to Golden Age Denmark.





Past Events


“Globalization and Hegel’s Theory of the Emergence of Subjectivity”
Cultural Politics Seminar at The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs
Harvard University, The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs
1737 Cambridge Street, Cambridge

December 5, 2017, 6pm to 7:30pm

Read more


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“Hegel’s Theory of Recognition and Subjective Freedom and the Ethical Challenges of a Globalized World”
The Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
Hoffmann Room, Busch Hall
27 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

November 15, 2017, 12:15pm-1:45pm

Read more



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“The Problem of Nihilism in the Danish Golden Age”

“The Crisis of the Danish Golden Age and its Modern Resonance”
Conference for the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies (SASS)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 11-13, 2017.



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Special Session for the

Conference for the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies (SASS)

May 11-13, 2017, Minneapolis. Organizers: Jon Stewart and Nathaniel Kramer

 
The Crisis of the Danish Golden Age and its Modern Resonance

Despite their many interesting debates and polemics, the leading figures of Golden Age Denmark were in agreement about the fact that their age was in a state of crisis. They believed that the quick pace of change since the Enlightenment had led to a sense of alienation from traditional values and ways of thinking. This produced uncertainty that resulted in different forms of relativism, subjectivism and nihilism.

The poet-philosopher, Johan Ludvig Heiberg, dramatically announced the great cultural crisis of the day in his treatise On the Significance of Philosophy for the Present Age from 1833. According to Heiberg, people in his generation had lost their belief in truth and beauty in any deeper sense. Likewise, in 1837 the classicist and philosopher, Poul Martin Møller followed this line of thinking in his influential article “Thoughts on the Possibility of Proofs of Human Immortality,” in which he claims that modern scientific and naturalistic thinking has undermined the traditional belief in the immortality of the soul. In this context he too explores the movement of nihilism that he believes characterizes the age. In 1842 the theologian Hans Lassen Martensen published an article entitled “The Present Religious Crisis,” where he argues that much of the uncertainty in religion is the result of the work of, among others, the German theologian David Friedrich Strauss, who argued that Christianity was a form of myth. The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard treated the idea of a cultural and religious crisis in a number of his famous works, such as The Concept of Irony, Either/Or, A Literary Review of Two Ages, and The Moment.

Many of the texts from the Golden Age strike the reader as profoundly modern since they seem to anticipate key characteristics of the crisis of the 21st century. In keeping with the conference theme—Nordic Connections: Old and New—we invite papers focused on the Danish Golden Age and its philosophical, literary and artistic heritage that explore the theme of crisis and examine the resemblances between the perils and crises of the Danish Golden Age and those of our own.

Read more on the homepage of SASS.


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“Kierkegaard’s Response to Hegel’s Interpretation of Antigone”

European Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature, Master of Arts in Comparative Humanities (MACH),

and the undergraduate Humanities Fellows

Brandeis University, DuBois Lounge (Rabb Graduate Center, Rm. 119)

March 30, 2017, 4pm

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Hegel’s Use of Recognition and Subjective Freedom in His Interpretation of the Religions of the World

The Philosophy Department and the Institute of Liberal Arts

Boston College, Higgins Hall 225

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Read more

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“Hegel’s Interpretation of the Greek Religion as a Religion of Spirit”
The Mahindra Humanities Center, Room 133, Barker Center, Harvard University
December 13, 2016, 6pm
Read more




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“The Determinate Religions: Hegel's Interpretation of the Religions of the World”

Yeshiva University, New York

November 16, 2016, 12-1:15pm

Read more


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“The Religion of the Sublime: Hegel’s Controversial Account of Judaism”

Yeshiva University, New York

November 16, 2016.

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The Determinate Religions: Hegel's Interpretation of the Religions of the World

Philosophy Department, Boston University

November 4, 2016.

Read more



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“The Crisis of Religion and the Logic of the Gods: Hegel’s Interpretation of the Religions of the World”

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

October 19, 2016.





Read more


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Keynote Speech:

“Humanities Education in a Globalized World and Our Modern Prejudices”

at the conference “Classical Education in the 21st Century: Challenges, Continuity, and Change”


Thales Academy, Rolesville, North Carolina

October 7, 2016.

Read more

See the video of the lecture

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The Conference, “The Registers of Philosophy II
,”

Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Pázmány Péter Catholic University,

Budapest, Hungary, May 14, 2016.




Read the article

http://www.phil-inst.hu/hu/esemenyek/esemenyek/635-the-registers-of-philosophy-ii


Description of the conference:

Jon Stewart has recently argued in his book The Unity of Content and Form in Philosophical Writing (2013) that the style of contemporary philosophy – particularly in its Anglo-American version – is extremely impoverished. This homogeneity, according to Stewart, has its roots in the scientific model of philosophy and philosophical writing, in the philosophy of language that was popular in the beginning of the last century and in the fact that during the professionalization of philosophy a particular mode of writing proved to be the most useful one. Noting the deep similarities of current philosophical pieces would of course not cause any surprise – but Stewart went on to argue that this kind of uniformity in philosophical writing causes much harm to philosophy itself. The standardization not only causes some thoughts to be only ineffectively expressible in philosophy, but shifts the attention of courses both at undergraduate and graduate level to the regular type of philosophical texts. Irregular genres or styles are left out from the curriculum at many places, their own characteristics and the messages encoded in philosophical styles do not gain attention. ‘By insisting on a single form of writing – Stewart emphasized –, professional philosophy implicitly imposes a certain notion about how to read philosophy.’ The ability to read some classics is fading away. And works falling outside of the scope of the writing which people are now accustomed to are deemed to be unphilosophical, lacking rigor and therefore uninteresting.

Nevertheless one might argue that even nowadays various philosophical genres and styles are flourishing, and not only in continental philosophy. Philosophical novels and poems are being published, philosophy is present in theatres and cinemas, not to mention the different web pages that are dedicated to philosophical topics. Even analytic writings do not always use the same style. Furthermore, as Keith Allen noted in his review of The Unity of Content and Form in Philosophical Writing, ‘Stewart’s selection of case studies to illustrate the diversity of forms that philosophical writing can take raises interesting questions about when it is appropriate to describe a work as a work of philosophy.’

Now how uniform really is today’s philosophy? Is the homogeneity of styles dangerous for philosophy itself? What are the themes that only fit well with some genres or styles? What is the exact connection between content and form? Should philosophers pay attention to genres practiced outside of academia? The aim of our series of conferences is to investigate these questions and more. We would like to look at the problems of content and form in philosophy both from historical and contemporary perspectives, from the viewpoint of analytic and continental philosophy as well as from the standpoint of styles that fall outside the scope of academic philosophy. Stewart claimed that questions of form, genre and style should be entertained not only at the literature departments but by professional philosophers too. As he argued: ‘To read philosophical texts as literature is to miss the specifically philosophical meaning that they contain.’ We would like to give a joint occasion for both of these disciplines to discuss the problems introduced above. Like Stewart, we would like to bring philosophers to the edges of conformity, to explore the various forms and the diverse ways of not only writing, reading and interpreting philosophy but teaching, discussing, presenting, popularizing or doing it.



    

 




Jon Stewart©2007-2017