Søren Kierkegaard and the Challenge of Existence

Søren Kierkegaard

Illustration: Københavns Bymuseum

Kierkegaard and the Challenge of Existence is a course in English for all International Students offered each semester. Søren Kierkegaard is a fascinating and famous Danish philosopher/writer – in fact, the only Danish thinker of undisputed international rank and legend. Apart from being considered as the“father of existentialism”, his unorthodox ideas are discussed in and can be connected to virtually every subject area within the humanities.

Kierkegaard’s works revolve around basic human experiences such as lust, despair, anxiety, love, morality, passion, absurdity and god. In particular, Kierkegaard claimed to present a complete summary of the possible ways in which we can live our lives or exist. At the same time, he analyzed and criticized these ways thoroughly in order to judge to what extent they may give us a true point of orientation.

Every lecture presupposes a short reading of not more than five pages and will provide sufficient room for discussion where we raise fundamental questions such as what we can at all know, how we should at all be and act and what we can at all hope for as finite human beings. It is the past experience and our very stimulus that students from different disciplines profit from one another.

The course also integrates a City Walk, which can be characterized as a walk through Kierkegaard’s odd personal life as well as the screening of the momentous and deeply “Kierkegaardian”Danish movie Breaking the Waves / Lars von Trier.

The lectures do not presuppose specialized knowledge and will introduce the respective themes without jargon. Kierkegaard’s ideas are original and never belong to one genre only, so that the course is indeed eligible to students of all majors. Essays can be composed freely, but need to be submitted in English or in German. Individual student-counseling of the lecturer will be available.

This course will be offered with the possibility of remote learning as all lectures at the UCPH will be recorded and uploaded in Absalon. The course will also include specific modules for students, who are not able to attend the lectures on Campus. Attendance at the lectures is not compulsory. Students are free to either follow the course on Campus or online. Please let us know, which lecture form you will be attending, when registering for the course.

Time: The lectures will be held on Mondays from 4 to 6 p.m.

Location: Room 24.0.30.

Kurser.ku.dk link:

The first lecture will be held on the 14th of September.

The current program, course literature, and location of the course will be subjects to changes before the start of the autumn semester 2020. International students studying at the UCPH in the autumn 2020 can explore the program to get an understanding of the content and flow of the course.

For more information about this course: