Early Polemical Writings – The Opponent

The Kierkegaard Project has started off slow.  I feel like I am an amateur marathon runner tempted to sprint ahead but forcing myself to find a manageable pace.  I am reading the writings of a young Kierkegaard engaged in local journalistic debates that I do not have the inclination to learn more about at the moment.  One quote, however, seemed appropriate to throw up into the blogosphere.  The context could be characterized as a pre-blog comment thread;

When in a dispute the point is reached where the opponent says: I cannot understand you, although I have the best intentions – then that ends the dispute.  And although we shall willingly leave outside the whole dispute the question of whether or not his intentions are the best, because until the opposite can be proved we remain ever convinced of this, one must always respect such a move by the opponent.  But when instead he starts to attack the character of the person he is speaking to, accuses him of being a willful sophist etc., then it can at the most provoke a smile on the lips of the opponent, because the whole thing is nothing other than comic despair.

Early Polemical Writings, 22.

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