Deng Zhang

Gefühl als Motivation zum moralischen Handeln bei Sören Kierkegaard –
Fallstudien zu Verzweiflung und Angst

Ethics only make sense if the existence of the individual is presupposed. The existence of human being, as explicitly addressed by the philosophy of existence, is to be understood as a factum that precedes his essence. In Kierkegaard, this factum was characterized by another factum that starts as an event with the hereditary guilt. In such a way, the existence of human being is determined to be guilty. If it is possible to speak of an ethics in Kierkegaard, it should be an ethics of guilt.
 
The Ethics talks about universal principles. An ethic of guilt should thus be about the universality of unfulfilled obligations. The guilt is an expression for the "ought". The latter is thus only accessible if one is aware of his own guilt.
 
After this general approach, the main part of the paper is attempted to analyze two key works of Kierkegaard - "Concept of Anxiety" and "sickness unto death" - with an eye to a possible ethics of guilt. Anxiety is considered as the motivation for self-reflection, which is related to the consciousness of the own freedom and sin. For a person who's supposed to be determining himself, despair is a mental state that he should get rid of. The ethical principle that Kierkegaard has given us is not a principle for a life in community but a principle of self-determination, or autonomy in the extreme sense, where the issue is simply "the relation that relates itself to itself".