Kierkegaard's Concepts: Incognito

In Steven M. Emmanuel, Jon Stewart & William McDonald (eds.), Volume 15, Tome III: Kierkegaard's Concepts: Envy to Incognito. Ashgate. pp. 231-236 (2014)
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The Danish word 'incognito' means to appear in disguise, or to act under an unfamiliar, assumed name (or title) in order to avoid identification. As a concept, incognito occurs in several of Kierkegaard’s works, but only becomes a subject of reflection in two: the Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments by Johannes Climacus and Practice in Christianity by Anti-Climacus. Both pseudonyms develop the concept from their own perspective and must be understood on their own terms. Johannes Climacus treats incognito as a category of existence, defining it as a comic contradiction that creates a disguise in order to hide and protect the inwardness of the existing individual. However, Anti-Climacus treats incognito as a category of communication. He defines it as “a sign of contradiction” that creates a disguise in order to activate and disclose the inwardness of a listener or reader.

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Martijn Boven
Leiden University


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