Research Interests and Projects
General Philosophical Interests
I am interested in philosophical method; Kierkegaard; the relationship between Kierkegaard and Hegel; and that between Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein.
Kierkegaard's Supernaturalism: Making Sense of the Project of Indirect Communication
Perhaps more than any other figure in the history of philosophy, Søren Kierkegaard has been portrayed in numerous ways: as a theologian, poet, and philosopher; as a postmodernist, an existentialist, a phenomenologist, a pragmatist, a Wittgensteinian, a virtue ethicist, and a moral religious psychologist. Despite this the question of Kierkegaard method, what he terms ‘indirect communication’, has been little explored. In this study Jamie Turnbull conducts the first comprehensive examination of the project of indirect communication. Turnbull argues that Kierkegaard’s methodology is intimately tied to his debate with his contemporaries about the nature of Christ’s divinity; and that in response to what Kierkegaard envisages as the Hegelian attempt to naturalise divinity to human nature, he is to be read as an advocate of theological supernaturalism.
Approaching Kierkegaard’s work in this context, Turnbull argues, allows us to reconcile the key claims Kierkegaard makes his project from Philosophical Fragments all the way to The Point of View. The Kierkegaard that emerges from this work is a theologian of his time, concerned with defending the nature of Christianity from what he takes to be the pagan consequences of Hegel’s philosophy. Against this background Turnbull examines some of the characterisations of Kierkegaard found in contemporary philosophy, concluding that his views are commonly misrepresented as species of the very naturalism he is concerned to argue against. The result is a study of Kierkegaard that poses a serious challenge to those who view him as an important and inexpendable resource in contemporary philosophy and psychology; a study that demands we reconceive the identity and place of one of the most enigmatic figures in the history of philosophy.