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Philosophie, Religionsphilosophie


Grøn, Arne


Imagination and Subjectivity


The concept of imagination has played a critical role in modern philosophy of religion: On the one hand it is crucial in order to understand what religion is about, and on the other hand it also opens up the possibility of a reductive approach to religion. This ambivalence comes to the fore especially in Hegel's foundation of philosophy of religion and its Wirkungsgeschichte. If Vorstellung is the form of religion, religion is to be interpreted as to its content, but if the content can be translated into a more adequate form, the specific form of religion seems to be dispensable. The notion that religion is to be understood through the relation of Vorstellung and Begriff leads to both a non-reductive hermeneutics and a reductive criticism of religion. The critique of religion in the 1840s rests on the notion of Vorstellung as the form of religion: Religion is only human imagination.

The fact that both a non-reductive and a reductive approach to religion can take imagination as a key concept shows the ambivalence of the concept of imagination. This might suggest that we should look for other ways of understanding religion. If the concept of imagination is not only rich, but also ambivalent as to the very approach to religion, it seems to be too open. My suggestion however would be the opposite, namely that the concept of imagination catches the ambivalence of religion itself. To be more specific, the suggestion is that in order to clarify the potential of the concept of imagination for a philosophy of religion we should take as our clue the question of subjectivity implied in the ambivalence of imagination. The first step in order to understand the subjectivity of imagination will be to take into consideration the epistemological and anthropological significance of the concept of imagination. Before doing so let us have a first sketch of the concept of imagination.

The Concept

Imagination means the capacity or ability to re-present something which is not present.1 In this sense imagination is a second seeing: it represents something which is not seen, but it does so by means of what has been seen. Imagination represents what is not seen by way of forming images. Thus understood, imagination appears to be something additional to seeing in that it builds upon what we see. The relation between imagining and seeing however is more complicated. In seeing we imagine. When we see something, we must understand the situation or the context in which it is seen in order to see what it is or what it is like. And understanding the situation or the context of seeing is a matter of imagination. This becomes more obvious if what we see is the act or the situation of someone else: Then we must imagine what it would be like to be thus situated in order to understand his or her act or situation. But understanding our own situation is also a matter of imagination. We only see what it means to be situated in this way if we imagine the possibilities of the situation.

In order to see or to understand what we see imagination is needed. We might then conceive imagination not as additional to seeing but as being implied in seeing something. But when we imagine something we relate to what we see. We move beyond what we directly see, maybe in order to see what we see. The fact that imagination also implies that we relate to what we see points to a second layer of imagination: Imagination is not only the ability to re-present what is not present, but more specifically the ability to see possibilities in what is seen. That which is not present might be the possibility of what I see.

Imagination as a Middle Term: Epistemology and Anthropology

This also indicates what is the attraction of the concept of imagination. The potential of the concept has to do with its status as a middle term. Let me give a brief and modest sketch in order to show this. My main point will be the interrelation of epistemology and anthropology. Imagination is not only a key concept in philosophy of religion, but also in anthropology and epistemology. And precisely the connection of the epistemological and anthropological dimension will be fruitful for philosophy of religion.

In Aristotle's De anima Book III imagination (phantasia) is a middle term between perception (aisthesis) and thinking (noesis). Although it is not a middle term in the active sense of connecting perception and thinking, it points to the emergence of a relative independence, namely in relating to what is perceived. Phantasia depends on perception, but it does so in a movement beyond what is perceived in that it does not depend on the object of perception actually being there. This relative independence of phantasia prefigures the double nature which characterizes a human being: that it is part of nature and also transcends nature. However, phantasia only prefigures this. In Aristotle, transcendence takes place through active reason. But the epistemological question (imagination between aisthesis and noesis) harbours the anthropological one (a human being as an intermediate being: dependent and independent). In making images we are dependent on what we have seen, but we do something: we make our own images.

The ability of imagination to go beyond what is seen by means of (images of) what is seen is accentuated in Kant's distinction between productive and reproductive imagination.2 And so is also the role of imagination as a middle term. If we go backwards from Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht to the first edition of Kritik der reinen Vernunft, the productive imagination is understood more radically as a pure and not empirical imagination: "... die transzendentale Einheit der Synthesis der Einbildungskraft [ist] die reine Form aller möglichen Erkenntnis, durch welche mithin alle Gegenstände möglicher Erfahrung a priori vorgestellt werden müssen" (A 118). Pure imagination is a middle term in the sense of "ein Vermögen einer Synthesis a priori".3 But it is also the middle or third term in that it connects the two heterogenous sources of human knowledge, Sinnlichkeit and Verstand: "Wir haben also eine reine Einbildungskraft, als ein Grundvermögen der menschlichen Seele, das aller Erkenntnis a priori zum Grunde liegt. Vermittelst deren bringen wir das Mannigfaltige der Anschauung einerseits, und mit der Bedingung der notwendigen Einheit der reinen Apperzeption andererseits in Verbindung. Beide äusserste Enden, nämlich Sinnlichkeit und Verstand, müssen vermittelst dieser transzendentalen Funktion der Einbildungskraft notwendig zusammenhängen" (A 124). Pure or transcendental imagination is a middle term, a third "Grundvermögen der menschlichen Seele" that connects the two other "Grundvermögen", Sinnlichkeit and Verstand. Or, according to the interpretation of Martin Heidegger, it is "ein Grundvermögen als Ermöglichung der ursprünglichen Einheit beider".4 Refering to Kant's own suggestion,5 Heidegger consequently asks: "Wenn diese ursprünglich bildende Mitte jene unbekannte gemeinsame Wurzel der beiden Stämme wäre?"6

We do not need to go more into detail here. What is important is the connection between epistemology and anthropology. Human knowledge has two heterogeneous sources, Sinnlichkeit and Verstand. Its nature is composite. This means that human knowledge is the knowledge of a finite being. Imagination as the middle term connecting these two irreducibly heterogeneous sources is the index of human finitude. It is so, however, in that it moves beyond what is finite. The question of imagination and in-finitude, which will be of central importance for philosophy of religion, points to the role of synthesis.

Imagination and the Human Synthesis

The emphasis on human finitude in Kant is remarkable. The radical epistemological enterprise - reason investigating its own limits - exposes an anthropological presupposition. When reason asks about its own limits, the question concerns the knowledge of a finite being. If we then consider the being of this finite, human being, the question is first, how we should understand the movement of transcendence which is also implied in human reason asking about the limits of its own existence, second how the finitude of human knowledge is to be understood in the context of human autonomy. The very notion of the finitude of human knowledge can only be understood contrapuntally against the idea of infinitude.

Maybe this dimension of in-finitude is already to be found in the notion of human synthesis. The suggestion is that synthesis itself presupposes a movement of transcendence: As a synthesis of heterogenous sources the synthesis is finite, but it can only hold these heterogenous sources together in an infinite movement. In the following I will discuss this suggestion in relation to Kierkegaard. Synthesis is a key notion in Kierkegaard's anthropology, and it is so precisely as an index of human finitude, but the question of human synthesis is also reflected in the dimension of in-finitude, namely as a double movement.

Let me briefly summarize the line of argument. Imagination as an intermediate concept shows the finitude of human existence. This makes the epistemological and anthropological dimensions of imagination inseparable. Imagination connects the heterogeneous sources of human knowledge, making a synthesis possible. The notion of a human synthesis thus turns out to be crucial in order to understand human finitude. In this sense human finitude is only indicated in Kant, not unfolded. The question is: what does it mean that the synthesis is finite? And what is the role of imagination in the human synthesis?

If the line of argument is transcendental, imagination would be the condition of possibility for the human synthesis. However, this would not help us to understand the finitude of human synthesis and it would overlook the ambiguous role of imagination. The crucial point is that the synthesis is also a normative concept. As a human synthesis it can fail. This comes to the fore especially in Kierkegaard.

In The Sickness unto Death human being is determined as a synthesis of finitude and infinitude. It is still a synthesis of heterogeneous sources or elements, but these elements seem to be too comprehensive for the synthesis to be a synthesis. In what sense is it a synthesis? And what is the role of imagination in the synthesis of finitude and infinitude?

The answer to the first question is given in that the synthesis is described as a double movement: "The self is the conscious synthesis of infinitude and finitude that relates itself to itself, whose task is to become itself, which can be done only through the relationship to God. To become oneself is to become concrete. But to become concrete is neither to become finite nor to become infinite, for that which is to become concrete is indeed a synthesis. Consequently, the progress of the becoming must be an infinite moving away from itself in the infinitizing of the self, and an infinite coming back to itself in the finitizing process".7 Finitude and infinitude are not elements of the synthesis, but determinations of the synthesis as a movement of existence. The movement is a double movement: in an infinite way to move away from oneself and in an infinite way to come back to oneself.

In this double movement of human synthesis imagination is crucial. But how? According to Kierkegaard, imagination is "the medium for the process of infinitizing" and as such "the capacity instar omnium". It is not a capacity, as are feeling, knowing, and willing. It is "the capacity instar omnium" in that it qualifies these other capacities. It does so in the sense that a person can have imaginary feeling, knowing and willing.8 However, this is only the negative example of the basic qualification of
feeling, knowing, and willing: "When all is said and done, what-ever feeling, knowing, and willing a person has depends upon what imagination he has, upon how that person reflects himself - that is, upon imagination".9

This has been interpreted as a transcendental line of argument.10 However, imagination is not the human capacity instar omnium in the sense that it first produces the synthesis. Instead it relates to other human capacities in that it qualifies them as "the medium for the process of infinitizing" (det Uendeliggjørendes Medium). As noted in the beginning, imagination is the ability to see possibilities. This is of fundamental importance for the concept of the self. As a self a human being is to become itself. In this sense the self is itself a possibility. Consequently, imagination as the ability to see possibilities for oneself is the capacity instar omnium. This explains the following passage: "The self is reflection, and the imagination is reflection, is the rendition of the self as the self's possibility. The imagination is the possibility of any and all reflection, and the intensity of this medium is the possibility of the intensity of the self".11 Imagination as the capacity of seeing possibilities for oneself is fundamental for being able to see oneself - and to be a self that is to become itself.

Imagination is not a capacity, as are the other human capacities, it is a "medium" of reflection. Through the medium of imagination a human being can see itself - and become itself. In the possibility it reflects itself, it moves away from itself in order to get back to itself. Imagination is thus the medium in which the self is rendered to itself. We only see ourselves through the medium of possibility. When imagination qualifies the other human capacities, feeling, knowing and willing, it does so as a sense of possibility. In this sense it is not a capacity, as are the others. What a human being feels, knows or wills, depends on her sense of possibility - as the possibility for herself.

Thus understood, the fundamental role of imagination also leads to its ambiguity. Imagination not only opens the medium of possibility, it gives a double possibility which pertains to being a self: Imagination (Phantasie) can become fantastic. This happens when the possibility in which we reflect ourselves, is not bent back to ourselves. The double movement of the synthesis can fail if we do not relate the possibility of imagination to what we already are. The medium of imagination also gives the possibility of escaping oneself. In the formulation of The Sickness unto Death: "The fantastic is generally that which leads a person out into the infinite in such a way that it only leads him away from himself and thereby prevents him from coming back to himself".12 This pertains to what it means to be a self. The self is not only possibility, it is also given as itself, i. e. as this singular individual. It is to become itself as this singular individual. When imagination becomes fantastic and leads a person away from himself, it is the person himself who relates through the medium of imagination to himself.

Imagination is fundamental in that as the sense of possibility it is the medium for feeling, knowing and willing. But imagination is not the fundamental capacity in the sense that it produces the synthesis. As the sense for possibility imagination opens the space in which a human being can understand itself. If a person lacks imagination he does not understand that which is different from himself, but in this he does not understand himself either. Consequently, what is basic is the relation between the self and the other than the self. Imagination is the medium for self-relation: In relating to ourselves we relate to what is other than ourselves. The implication is that imagination is not "the third" connecting the heterogenous elements into a synthesis. In Kierkegaard, "the third" is the spirit or the self. It is the individual itself relating to itself in feeling, knowing and willing. The synthesis takes place in that the individual relates to itself as both finite and infinite, as both given and possible. The self is not a capacity, but self-relation: to relate to oneself and to others in imagining, willing, feeling and knowing. In this imagination belongs together with the other human capacities. Thus, whether imagination becomes fantastic or not is a matter of will. The complex relation of imagination and will is indicated in the following passage in Practice in Christianity: "Every human being possesses to a higher or lower degree a capability called the power of imagination, a power that is the first condition for what becomes of a person, for will is the second and in the ultimate sense the decisive condition".13

The implication of all this is that imagination is both fundamental and ambiguous in that it pertains to the synthesis that can fail. The human synthesis is fragile. This points to subjectivity as self-relation.


When imagination and subjectivity are put together the problem of imagination comes into the foreground. Imagination is seen as subjective in the sense that it is our own product. But in this the concept of subjectivity is left undetermined. The direction of the movement should be reversed in that the problem of imagination shows the complex nature of subjectivity.

The structure of imagination is subjective in a more informative sense than being simply our own product: to imagine something means to place it before one's own eyes. We can read this from the German expression: sich etwas vor-stellen (and the Danish: at fore-stille sig noget). When we imagine something by placing it before our eyes, we relate to it. This is the subjectivity of imagination. In imagining we relate to what we see and hear. We relate to it in the medium of imagination in imagining what it means.

The subjectivity implicit in this, however, is complex. We relate to something by placing it before us, imagining what it means, but in relating to it we also relate to ourselves. We do something to ourselves. The ambiguity of imagination, the possibility of imagination becoming fantastic, indicates the problem of self-relation: When we relate to something in the medium of imagination, we make ourselves images and ideas - to ourselves. But in doing so we can ensnare ourselves. When we relate to the future we imagine what it will be like. If we worry in anxiety about the future we contend with ourselves, "because the next day is a powerless nothing if you do not give it your strength".14 And in imagining we can seek our own image. Self-relation thus turns into self-mirroring. But also in this case the subjectivity of imagination is a complicated phenomenon: we are subjected to our own images and ideas.

If imagination were simply self-mirroring we would not be able to describe the negative instances where we capture ourselves and thus lose ourselves. The ambiguity of imagination also implies the opposite possibility, namely to reverse the perspective in imagining how things are seen from the perspective of the other. This reversal of perspective is the ethical significance of imagination. As we shall se, precisely the reversal of perspective is crucial in understanding the significance of imagination for philosophy of religion.


What, then, is the potential of the concept of imagination for philosophy of religion? The notion that imagination as a middle term is an index of human finitude gives the point of departure. The definition of a human being as a synthesis seems to open the road: If human synthesis is a synthesis of finitude and infinitude, we have the problem of philosophy of religion. What is the meaning of infinitude when our point of departure is a radical notion of human finitude? Is imagination a middle term in the sense of establishing a synthesis of finitude and infinitude?

The first thing to be noted is that the human synthesis of finitude and infinitude mentioned in The Sickness unto Death is itself an index of finitude. In the definition of a human being as a synthesis finitude occurs twice, first as a constituent of the synthesis, second as the character of the synthesis itself. This redoubling (the double occurrence of finitude in the definition) points to the character of human finitude. It is not finitude simpliciter but the finitude of self-relation. This means that human finitude is reflected and open. We are finite beings in the infinite sense that we can ask about our own finitude. In this reflection of finitude imagination is crucial. Imagination is index of human finitude, but also "the infinitizing Medium". It not only shows human finitude, but is the medium in which the condition of finitude is reflected. Thus imagination itself belongs to the human condition as a reflected condition. This also means that imagination does not establish a synthesis of finitude and infinitude. The synthesis is only possible as the double movement of human existence. Finitude and infinitude are not parts of the synthesis, but determinations of human existence itself.

Religion as Imagination: Reversal of Perspective

The potential of the concept of imagination for philosophy of religion, however, lies also in the very reversal of imagination. As already indicated, the change or inversion of perspective which plays a decisive role in ethics is performed by an act of imagination. Through the medium of imagination one seeks to place oneself in the situation of the other. The reversal of perspective in religion is not simply an act performed by imagination, it is also our imagination being broken, contradicted and inverted. Infinitude is not to be found in a transcendence of finite perspectives, or in an overall synthesis of finitude and infinitude, but in this reversal of perspective.

Let me substantiate this claim by interpreting the role played by imagination in some of the discourses in Kierkegaard's Works of Love. The book starts with meditations on the commandment to love your neighbour as yourself. The significance of the commandment is understood only in turning our conceptions (Forestillinger) upside down: "What courage it takes to say for the first time, You shall love, or, more correctly, what divine authority it takes to turn the natural man's conceptions and ideas upside down with this phrase. There at the boundary where human language halts and courage fails, there revelation breaks forth with divine origination and proclaims what is not difficult to understand in the sense of profundity or human parallels but which did not arise in any human being's heart".15

The discourses on love move in and through imagination (Forestillinger). We do not have the option of placing ourselves in a realm without images. Kierkegaard even speaks of the conception of God (Forestillingen om Gud) which implies that we see ourselves before God.16 The infinite is precisely not to be seen, but affects our way of seeing the world. The conception of God is in itself an inversion of perspective. In seeing ourselves before God we become ourselves the addressee. The implication is that we should have an infinite conception of ourselves. It is infinite through the medium of imagination, but this is not all. Our conception of ourselves is only infinite in that our imagination itself is broken and inverted. The dialectical point is that precisly the subjectivity of imagination - that we are in our conceptions of ourselves and others - opens the possibility of the inversion of perspective. The ambiguity of imagination is reflected in this inversion: If the conceptions or representations of imagination are our products, they can be broken, contradicted and inverted. Because they are our own conceptions we are being affected when they break down.

Imagination as "the infinitizing medium" gives a negative possibility which opens up a paradoxical reversal of perspective. When we use our conceptions of the invisible, the ideal, to fly over actuality, we should ourselves gain actuality. This is brought out in a discourse on "Our Duty to Love the People We See" which contrasts seeing in an emphatic sense and imagining: "When it is a duty to love the people we see, one must first and foremost give up all imagery and exaggerated ideas17 about a dreamworld where the object of love should be sought and found - that is, one must become sober, gain actuality and truth by finding and remaining in the world of actuality as the task assigned to one".18 This is explained as follows. "With regard to loving, the most dangerous of all escapes is wanting to love only the unseen or that which one has not seen. This escape is so high-flying that it flies over actuality completely; it is so intoxicating that it easily tempts and easily imagines itself19 to be the highest and most perfect kind of love".20 This is the possibility of using the images we make ourselves - and precisely the images of the unseen and ideal - in order not to see what we see. This is also a possibility of religion (the discourse contains a sort of critique of religious imagination from within). The possibility of Schwärmerei21 confirms that we relate to ourselves in imagining. We make ourselves blind in a kind of self-deception. The point however is also that we only understand what it means to love in understanding this negative possibility: "When it is a duty in loving to love the people we see, then in loving the actual individual person it is important that one does not substitute an imagery idea22 of how we think or could wish that this person should be. The one who does this does not love the
person he sees but again something unseen, his own idea23 or something similar".24 In this case, the self-relation is once more a short circuit or self-circle.

The ambiguity of imagination is thus accentuated. It gives the possibility of self-mirroring but also the possibility of a reversal of perspective in which the task is to see what our imagination prevents us from seeing. Kierkegaard therefore speaks of a difference between conceptions (Forestillinger) which is "a world of difference, a difference of inversion".25 Works of Love is a book on this difference of inversion. It uses as a method the reversal or inversion of perspective.26 The point however is that this inversion only takes place through imagination, not only by virtue of imagination, but also by reversal of imagination itself. It is only in imagining that our perspective can be reversed or inverted, because we ourselves relate in imagining. This is the dialectical significance of the subjectivity of imagination. Not only the problem, also the potential of imagination has to do with its subjectivity.

Subjectivity of Imagination

In conclusion, let me summarize the main points of the argument:

1. The point of departure was given by the connection of epistemological and anthropological dimensions of imagination. As a middle term between the heterogenous sources of human knowledge imagination is the index of human finitude. The analysis of human synthesis however shows that this finitude is reflected. It is the finitude of self-relation. And finitude is reflected in the medium of imagination as the sense of possibility.

2. In this sense imagination is of fundamental importance for the notion of the self. A human self is to become itself. It is self-relation in the medium of possibility. This however also indicates the ambiguity of imagination. We not only become ourselves through the medium of imagination; we can also lose ourselves in imagination which becomes fantastic, and we can catch ourselves through the images we make.

3. Thus, the subjectivity of imagination is complex: In imagining we relate to something by placing it before us, but in this we also relate to ourselves. This gives the possibility of self-mirroring which in itself is not a simple phenomenon: we are ourselves subjected to what we imagine. Imagination is ambiguous in that it not only gives the possibility of self-mirroring, but also the possibility of self-questioning.

4. This comes to the fore in the ethical inversion of perspective through the medium of imagination. In religion however the reversal of perspective is not only a reversal by virtue of imagination, but a reversal of imagination itself. The dialectical point is that the perspective of imagination can be broken exactly because it is subjective. The subjective character of imagination- that we make ourselves images, that we relate in imagining- opens the possibility of inversion. It is our vision which is contradicted and transformed. The concept of imagination thus catches the ambivalence of religion itself: Religion can be a much too human enterprise and it can imply a radical self-questioning. Religion deals through imagination with that which can not be imagined. What the infinite means is captured by the limit of imagination. When something happens which changes our life and vision we can say that it is unimaginable or inconceivable (unvorstellbar). The limit of imagination is our way of measuring the significance of that which can not be measured.


Imagination als die Fähigkeit, sich etwas vorzustellen, das nicht vorhanden ist, indem man sich davon Bilder macht (Einbildungskraft, Vorstellung), spielt eine kritische Rolle für die Religionsphilosophie. Der Aufsatz will diese Rolle dadurch neu bestimmen, dass er noch einmal nach der Subjektivität fragt, die in der Ambivalenz der Vorstellung steckt, und zwar in folgenden Schritten:

Erstens wird Einbildungskraft als Zwischenbestimmung von heterogenen Quellen menschlicher Erkenntnis (Kant) als das Kennzeichen menschlicher, reflektierter Endlichkeit kurz interpretiert. In einem zweiten Schritt wird die sowohl grundlegende als auch zweideutige Rolle der Einbildungskraft oder Phantasie (als Sinn für Möglichkeit) in der menschlichen Synthese als Doppelbewegung (Kierkegaard) betont. Die Doppelbewegung kann verfehlt werden, die Phantasie kann fantastisch werden. Drittens wird dann die komplexe Subjektivität der Imagination bestimmt: Wenn wir uns etwas vorstellen, vor uns stellen, beziehen wir uns darauf, aber darin beziehen wir uns zugleich auf uns selbst. Wir tun etwas mit uns, indem wir uns Vorstellungen machen. Viertens wird eine paradoxe religiöse Umkehrung der Vorstellung selbst von einer ethischen Umkehrung der eigenen Perspektive durch das Medium der Vorstellung unterschieden.

Die dialektische Pointe liegt darin, dass der Vorstellung genau deshalb widersprochen und sie umgekehrt werden kann, weil sie subjektiv in dem Sinne ist, dass wir uns etwas vorstellen, uns Vorstellung machen, und dadurch selber zu Adressaten werden können. Nicht nur das Problem, sondern auch das Potential der Imagination hängt mit dieser Struktur der Subjektivität zusammen.


1) Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft B 151 : "Einbildungskraft ist das Vermögen, einen Gegenstand auch ohne dessen Gegenwart in der Anschauung vorzustellen" (cf. A 100). Cf. also Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht 25, Werke (ed. Weischedel), Darmstadt 1975, 466: "Die Einbildungskraft (facultas imaginandi), als ein Vermögen der Anschauungen auch ohne Gegenwart des Gegenstandes ...".

2) The quotation above from Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht continues: "... ist entweder produktiv, d. i. ein Vermögen der ursprünglichen Darstellung des letzteren (exhibitio originaria), welche also vor der Erfahrung vorhergeht; oder reproduktiv, der abgeleiteten (exhibitio derivativa), welche eine vorher gehabte empirische Anschauung ins Gemüt zurückbringt" (ibid.).

3) "Die Einbildungskraft ist also auch ein Vermögen einer Synthesis a priori, weswegen wir ihr den Namen der produktiven Einbildungskraft geben, und, sofern sie in Ansehung alles Mannigfaltigen der Erscheinung nichts weiter, als die notwendige Einheit in der Synthesis derselben zu ihrer Absicht hat, kann diese die transzendentale Funktion der Einbildungskraft genannt werden" (A 123). Only due to this transcendental function of imagination is "die Erfahrung selbst möglich" (ibid.).

4) Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik, (1929) Frankfurt a. M.: Klostermann 1973, 129.

5) "Nur so viel scheint zur Einleitung, oder Vorerinnerung, nötig zu sein, dass es zwei Stämme der menschlichen Erkenntnis gebe, die vielleicht aus einer gemeinschaftlichen, aber uns unbekannten Wurzel entspringen" (A 15/B 29, cf. B 863).

6) Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik, 132

7) Kierkegaard, The Sickness unto Death, Kierkegaard's Writings (Hong-edition) vol. 19, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press 1980, 29 f.

8) The passage reads: "The fantastic, of course, is most closely related to the imagination [Phantasie], but the imagination in turn is related to feeling, knowing, and willing; therefore a person can have imaginary feeling, knowing, and willing. As a rule, imagination is the medium for the process of infinitizing; it is not a capacity, as are the others - if one wishes to speak in those terms, it is the capacity instar omnium" (ibid., 30 f.).

9) Ibid., 31.

10) E. g. by K. E. Løgstrup in his Opgør med Kierkegaard, Copenhagen: Gyldendal 1968.

11) The Sickness unto Death, 31.

12) Ibid., 31.

13) Practice in Christianity, Kierkegaard's Writings (Hong-edition) vol. 20, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press 1991, 186.

14) Kierkegaard, Christian Discourses, Kierkegaard's Writings (Hong-edition) vol. 17, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press 1997, 78.

15) Works of Love, Kierkegaard's Writings (Hong-edition) vol. 16, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 24. The German translation reads: "die Begriffe und Vorstellungen des natürlichen Menschen auf den Kopf zu stellen".

16) Cf. esp. The Sickness unto Death, 79 ff.

17) In Danish: "alle indbildte og overspændte Forestillinger" (German: "alle eingebildeten und überspannten Vorstellungen").

18) Works of Love, 161.

19) In Danish: "indbilder sig selv" (German: "sich selbst einbildet").

20) Works of Love, 161.

21) In the passage this is mentioned as the possibility of speaking "too fanatically about loving and about love" (in Danish: "for sværmerisk om det at elske og om Kjerlighed").

22) In Danish: "en indbildt Forestilling" (German: "eingebildete Vorstellung").

23) In Danish: "sin egen Forestilling" (German: "seine eigene Vorstellung").

24) Works of Love, 164.

25) Ibid., 162.

26) Cf. Arne Grøn, "Ethics of Vision", in: I. U. Dalferth (ed.), Ethik der Liebe. Studien zu Kierkegaards "Taten der Liebe", Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2002, 111-122.