A Cultural Determination of Meaning

891 words 4 pages
Written Assignment 4
A Cultural Determination of Meaning Throughout historic culture, we can identify several changes in philosophical thought. Through the emergence of romanticism, we see a realization that, through passion, the paths of the hero and saint can be merged. In the agony and ecstasy of Michelangelo, it is obvious how the paths of hero and saint can be merged in the form of art, to attempt to reconcile the tension between them. In the enlightenment patterns of cultural mutation, we begin to realize that the way we converge the two paths depends on the historical context in which we view them. And finally, as a response to his cultural climate, Kierkegaard’s portrayal of Abraham shows how the hero-saint
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Hegel, a well-known theorist, suggests that scientific knowledge is possible through joining Christian faith with freedom. Kierkegaard combats this by asserting that truth is the experience of subjectivity – the individual experience is the sole arena in which faith is possible. By re-telling the story of Abraham, Kierkegaard is able to realize that science cannot determine the individual experience. In other words faith is in the passion of the individual commitment to the other. However, Kierkegaard could not have come to this realization unless he was exposed to his exact cultural situation. Through the historical progression of romanticism, art, religion, and science, we can see a pattern start to emerge. This pattern is realization of the tension between the paths of the hero and the saint through cultural conditions. Saint Francis and Dante showed how both paths could be merged through the self-giving love of the courtly and the knightly. Michelangelo realized that through using heroic excellence to produce art, he could merge the two views by portraying biblical figures in his art. Through the emergence of science, we can see a re-assertion of the heroic view as the dominating view in the patterns of cultural mutation. And finally, through Kierkegaard’s re-telling of the story of Abraham, we can see a new definition of the saint by means of realizing that science cannot determine the individual’s experience of passion. Within all of these


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