GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: Kaplan

One of S?ren Kierkegaard's recurring philosophical preoccupations was the study of morality. |~His writing touches upon whether there is an external, objective ethical standard, such as the Ten Commandments, or if there is something beyond ethics upon which right and wrong were predicated.| Kierkegaard's thinking trends towards the latter. Traditional Hegelianism would assert that there is an external code from which any deviation is unjustified. Kierkegaard's view is more nuanced. To illustrate his point, he cited the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac. In the story, God instructs Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Kierkegaard points out that this is abhorrent by any normative code of ethics, but that Abraham is traditionally regarded as having behaved virtuously. |~He resolves the apparent contradiction by suggesting that morality is subject to teleological suspension of the ethical, from the Greek telos, meaning "end," or "goal."| He saw Abraham as a paradigm of morality vis-à-vis his faith in that telos. At the conclusion of the biblical narrative, Abraham obeys the command to sacrifice his son, but at the last second his hand is stopped by divine intervention, thus sparing his son.

Question List: 1 2

The passage's description of Kierkegaard's views on ethics suggests which of the following conclusions?

  • A Kierkegaard countenanced murder in any given situation.
  • B Kierkegaard condoned Abraham's actions because his son was unharmed in the end.
  • C Kierkegaard was Hegelian at heart.
  • D Morality is entirely subjective.
  • E Kierkegaard was intimating that the story of Abraham suggests that right and wrong is subject to something beyond an objective code of ethics.

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