Kierkegaard, Eve and Metaphors of Birth


There has been a recent revival of interest in reading Kierkegaard as an ontologist, as a thinker who engages with questions about the kinds of entity or process that constitute ultimate reality. This new way of reading Kierkegaard stands alongside a revival of interest in ontology and metaphysics more generally. 

This highly original book concentrates on the claim that Kierkegaard focuses in part on ontological questions and on issues pertaining to the nature of being as a whole. Alison Assiter asserts that Being, for Kierkegaard, following Schelling, can be read in terms of conceptions of birthing—the capacity to give birth as well as the notion of a birthing body. She goes on to argue that the story offered by Kierkegaard in The Concept of Anxiety about the origin of freedom connects with a birthing body, and that Kierkegaard offers a speculative hypothesis, in terms of metaphors of birthing, about the nature of Being.

In a brilliant, richly contextualized ‘speculative’ naturalist (re-)reading of Kierkegaard, Alison Assiter makes out a powerful case that – as Indigenous peoples have known from time immemorial and most other moderns have all but forgotten – nature is our mother, and evil is most fundamentally losing sight of this. Kierkegaard, Eve and Metaphors of Birth is philosophy at its best, addressing the really big issues of our time.
— Mervyn Hartwig, Journal of Critical Realism
Kierkegaard, Eve and Metaphors of Birth is a passionately written and challenging text which engages with an important and neglected topic in the history of philosophy, namely natality and its links with an ontology of becoming. Focusing on biological reproduction as well as the treatment of women in Kierkegaard’s texts, it develops further and deepens the arguments of Assiter’s Kierkegaard, Metaphysics and Political Theory (2009).
— Christine Battersby, Reader Emerita in Philosophy, Univeristy of Warwick
A startling and original book. Assiter’s profound engagement with Kierkegaard’s ontology results in a compelling ecological and feminist reinterpretation of his work. This is required reading for those wishing to move beyond the clichés of Kierkegaard’s heroic individualism.
— Steven Shakespeare, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Liverpool Hope University.