In Fear and Trembling, Søren Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous author Johannes de Silentio deals with the question about the nature of true faith. De Silentio indicates that true faith can only be arrived at through the individual and his engagement with the paradox of faith. Thus, only the single individual, as termed by de Silentio, is capable to stand in a true relationship to God.
In the following, I will aim to explain the concept of the single individual as well as what de Silentio means by the paradox of faith. I will relate this to the story of as it figures in de Silentio’s account of the paradox and the distinction between the tragic hero and the knight of faith. In this discussion, the concepts of interiority and exteriority, subjectivity, and mediation will be associated with the broader explanation.
The Single Individual and the Paradox
The title of de Silentio’s Problema II reads: “Is there an Absolute Duty to God?” In order to go about answering this question, the analogy drawn to the story about Abraham and Isaac introduced in the Preliminary Expectoration is employed by de Silentio to elaborate on the issue. In the concluding paragraph of Problema II, he answers in the affirmative by stating that “there is an absolute duty to God” (Hong, Hong, 1983: 81), which is characterized by a paradox and someone called the single individual. Who is the single individual? And what is the paradox she finds herself in?