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Ways of Knowing
Kierkegaard's Pluralist Epistemology
By M. G. Piety
While Kierkegaard is one of the most important thinkers of the nineteenth century, until now very little scholarly attention has been paid to his epistemology. As M. G. Piety explains, this is a serious problem, as Kierkegaard’s views on our ways of knowing are, and must be, intimately related to his view on religious faith and its role in human experience. Thus, in Ways of Knowing, Piety offers the first book-length exploration of Kierkegaard’s views on knowledge, an epistemology that she argues is both foundationalist and nonfoundationalist, substantive and procedural, and includes both internalist and externalist theories of belief justification. In developing, then, a general outline of Kierkegaard’s views, Piety provides the foundational material for future contextualizing and comparative scholarship.
1. Introduction: Kierkegaard as Epistemologist
2. The Knowing Subject
3. Defining Knowledge
4. Objective Knowledge
5. Redefining Knowledge
6. Subjective Knowledge
7. Conclusion: The Implications of Kierkegaard's Epistemology
"A pioneering, comprehensive treatment. Piety brings a wonderful set of tools to the project: philosophical insight and clarity, a formidable knowledge of both Kierkegaard’s writings and the relevant secondary literature in several languages, and expert knowledge of the Danish language."
—C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University
"A model for Kierkegaard research and philosophical understanding of his authorship . . . It will dominate the study of Kierkegaard’s epistemological views for years to come."
—Robert L. Perkins, Editor, International Kierkegaard Commentary
"The first full-length study of Kierkegaard’s epistemology in English, this thorough and careful study combines philosophical sophistication and a deep familiarity with Kierkegaard’s works. Written in a clear and lively style, this book will be of great value to anyone with a serious interest in Kierkegaard’s philosophy."
—Anthony Rudd, Associate Professor of Philosophy, St. Olaf College, and author of Kierkegaard and the Limits of the Ethical
"Ways of Knowing is the first comprehensive account of Kierkegaard's epistemology in English, and it is one of only three books on the topic in any language.... Piety offers powerful vision of the way that faith creates a space for subjective knowledge, which is inherently prescriptive, transformative, and inseparable from an entire way of life. This book certainly deepens our appreciation of Kierkegaard's thought, and there is no doubt that Piety's work will be a touchstone for years to come."
—R. W. Fischer, University of Illinois at Chicago, Theological Book Review (2011, 23:1)
"A masterfully researched analysis of Kierkegaard's oeuvre."
—A. J. Graves, Metropolitan State College of Denver, Choice (2011, 48:8)
"[F]or those with a passion for in depth knowledge of Kierkegaard's epistemological views, Piety's book is full of careful analysis."
—The Review of Metaphysics (2011, 65:1)
M. G. Piety is Associate Professor of Applied Ethics, Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Religion at Drexel University. She is translator of Søren Kierkegaard’s Philosophical Crumbs and Repetition. She lives in Philadelphia.