“The public sphere thus promotes ubiquitous commentators who deliberately detach themselves from the local practices out of which specific issues grow and in terms of which these issues must be resolved though some sort of committed action. What seems a virtue to detached Enlightenment reason, therefore, looks like a disastrous drawback to Kierkegaard. The public sphere is a world in which everyone has an opinion on and comments on all public matters without needing any first-hand experience and without having or wanting any responsibility. Even the most conscientious commentators don’t have to have firsthand experience or take a concrete stand. Rather, they justify their views by citing principles, and, as Kierkegaard notes with disapproval, their 'ability, virtuosity and good sense consists in trying to reach a judgment and a decision without ever going so far as action.' Moreover, since the conclusions such abstract reasoning reaches are not grounded in the local practices, its solutions are equally abstract. Such proposals would presumably not enlist the commitment of the people involved and therefore not work even if acted upon. Kierkegaard concludes that 'what...the speakers at a meeting understand perfectly presented to them as a thought or an observation, they cannot understand at all in the form of action.'”
About the author
This page was created by our editorial team. Each page is manually curated, researched, collected, and issued by our staff writers. Quotes contained on this page have been double checked for their citations, their accuracy and the impact it will have on our readers.
Kelly Peacock is an accomplished poet and social media expert based in Brooklyn, New York. Kelly has a Bachelor's degree in creative writing from Farieligh Dickinson University and has contributed to many literary and cultural publications. Kelly assists on a wide variety of quote inputting and social media functions for Quote Catalog. Visit her personal website here.
Kendra Syrdal is a writer, editor, partner, and senior publisher for The Thought & Expression Company. Over the last few years she has been personally responsible for writing, editing, and producing over 30+ million pageviews on Thought Catalog.