Kierkegaard on the Value of Art: An Indirect Method of Communication

In Patrick Stokes, Eleanor Helms & Adam Buben (eds.), The Kierkegaardian Mind. New York: pp. 166-176 (2019)
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Like many 19th c. thinkers, Kierkegaard embraces a cognitivist view of art. He thinks works of art matter because they can teach us in important ways. This chapter defends two striking features of Kierkegaard’s version of this theory. First, works of art do not teach “directly” by telling us truths and offering us evidence. Instead, they educate us “indirect-ly” by helping us make our own discoveries. Second, the fact that art does not teach in a straightforward manner is no defect. On the contrary, it is precisely because art teaches indirectly that it teaches better than philosophy and science do.
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