Kierkegaard’s theories of life


  • Explain Kierkegaard’s stages of life to three to five friends and colleagues.
  • Ask them what stage they think they are in at this time and note any insights they may have to offer about the stage they are in now.
  • Consider the ages of people who responded. Do you think age and life experience have anything to do with the responses and comments you heard?
  • What do you think influences life stages as Kierkegaard described?
  • Compare and contrast your friends’ responses to your own beliefs about the stage you are presently in; be sure to respond thoughtfully and refer to Kierkegaard’s theories.

Sample paper

Kierkegaard’s theories of life

Kierkegaard as a philosopher proposed and stated that an individual undergoes three stages before they become their true self. The stages he proposed include aesthetic stage, ethical stage and religious stage. The aesthetic stage is characterized by pleasures which one must yearn to optimize so as to live the aesthetic life maximally and also inconsistent decisions. In this stage, the individual never is concerned with the interest of someone else but eventually a desire to do good takes over and the individual starts to seek ethical pleasures (Collins). The ethical stage as a second life stage proposed by Kierkegaard involves an individual’s desire to satisfy the interests of others in the society. Since ethics are rules that govern the society, individuals are thus diverted from seeking self-enjoyment. The religious involves the individual seeking to have faith in God and leading a spiritual life and also Kierkegaard asserts that it is totally personal and the individual strives to maintain a relationship with God though there exists distractions towards that target (Dunning).

From the dialogue, the respondents believed they belong to one of the stages involved, and many are trapped in the aesthetic stage while others are yet to have their religious stage of life though ethical stage comes in their way in their conquest. From the ages of the respondents, it is clear and vital to note that age matters in life stages as those of a younger age are the most who are after aesthetic life and those after ethical life are ones that have just started to have much engagement in the society and are related to it as they are mostly young parents (Storsletten). Those seeking a religious life are majorly composed of the elderly who depends on faith in God and believe that God will protect and care for them. Personal pleasures, social requirements, and faith influence the three stages of life respectively (Kierkegaard). Relationally, the stage that I am in is the ethical stage as I seek to maximize societal needs.

Works Cited

Collins, James Daniel. The mind of Kierkegaard. Princeton University Press, , 2014.

Dunning, Stephen Northrup. Kierkegaard’s dialectic of inwardness: a structural analysis of the theory of stages. . Princeton University Press,, 2014.

Kierkegaard, Søren. Kierkegaard’s Journals and Notebooks, Volume 9: Journals NB26-NB30. Vol. 9. . Princeton University Press,, 2016.

Storsletten, Vivi ML, and Ove D. Jakobsen. ” “Development of leadership theory in the perspective of Kierkegaard’s philosophy.”.” Journal of Business Ethics 128.2 (2015): 337-349.


Theory and Research

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