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After mentioning Kierkegaard's leveling and mathematical equality concepts, this passage is quoted:

The individual no longer belongs to God, to himself, to his beloved, to his art or to his science; he is conscious of belonging in all things to an abstraction to which he is subjected by reflection.

(emphasis mine) What does he mean by 'subjected by reflection'?

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Could you mention/link to the book which you are reading, for context? This might raise the chance of getting a good answer! –  DBK Nov 30 '12 at 0:47
    
done, good idea. –  LitheOhm Nov 30 '12 at 5:27
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2 Answers

Warning: Not a Kierkegaard expert.

Here's a commentary of the passage you quoted:

If Kierkegaard is correct, rather than being ourselves, we tend to conform to an image or idea associated with being a certain type of person. That's what Kierkegaard means by belonging to an "abstraction" (an image or idea) created by "reflection" (self conscious thinking). (p. 408)

Please note that "reflection" is a technical term in Kierkegaard's philosophy. I found an online essay disentangling this difficult notion. This might help you understanding the passage further. (I cannot comment on or vouch for the essay's accuracy, however.)

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+1 thanks for the online essay, even though I disagree with the poster. Kierkegaard doesn't seem so interested in knowledge as he is in action. The commentary is from the same book I am using, too. –  LitheOhm Nov 30 '12 at 5:25
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"subjected by reflection" I think means that the state of belonging in all things to an abstraction is caused by reflection (theoretical thinking). I don't think there's any philosophical import there... just the usual sense of the word "subjected".

On "reflection", I got the sense in Kierkegaard that the concept is simple, but it's hard to discern because we're so embedded in that mode of thinking, rather than "reflection" in itself being a complicated concept.

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