A title given to scholars who show exemplary enthusiasm for the study of Kierkegaard, the Senior Research Fellows associated with the Hong Kierkegaard Library have greatly contributed to the existentialist scholarship produced by the Library and continue to foster a growing sense of community between Kierkegaardian scholars on and off the St. Olaf campus.
Jamie Aroosi (University of Toronto, B.A.; York University, M.A.; The Graduate Center, CUNY, M.Phil., PhD.) is a political theorist with an interest in philosophical anthropology and moral psychology who explores foundational questions about the nature of the self and how it develops into a moral and political agent. He has published widely in this area, including his forthcoming book, The Dialectical Self: Kierkegaard, Marx, and the Making of the Modern Subject (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018), which is the first comprehensive analysis and synthesis of Hegel’s two most important disciples and critics, arguing that rather than conventional accounts that view them as opposed they are actually deeply complementary halves of a larger whole. In this way, The Dialectical Self offers a comprehensive account of the self that allows us to more fully think through the complex relationship between our ethical, spiritual, social, and political lives as we each struggle to appropriate the freedom that is our birthright.
Currently, Jamie is working on a new book project provisionally entitled In Defense of Ad Hominem: A History of Western Irrationality. Traversing the history of Western thought, In Defense of Ad Hominem confronts the increasingly apparent irrationality of global politics, from the rise of populist regimes to the growth in sexist, racist, and nativist discourse, and questions our collective faith in rational argument and its ability to sway minds. Consequently, In Defense of Ad Hominem offers a fundamentally new account of reason and irrationality, demonstrating why rational argument proves incommensurate with the problem of irrationality, and why the truth of a belief can only be understood within the context of the motive that it serves. In this way, this work demonstrates that ad hominem argument does not constitute an attack on the truth, but that it is a necessary tool for exposing it. In sum, In Defense of Ad Hominem reveals that conventional accounts of democratic politics that view it as a purely discursive realm do not serve to reveal the true nature of political life but instead serve to occlude it.
Jamie Lorentzen (St. Olaf, B.A.; Middlebury, M.A.) is the author of Kierkegaard’s Metaphors (2001), Sober Cannibals, Drunken Christians: Kierkegaard, Melville, and Tragic Optimism in Polarized Worlds (2010), Becoming Human: Kierkegaardian Reflections on Ethical Models in Literature (2015), editor of Toward the Final Crossroads: A Festschrift for Howard and Edna Hong (2009), and has published comparative essays on Kierkegaard and Bob Dylan. He is currently working on a book provisionally entitled Reading Søren Kierkegaard in the New Dark Ages, or What He Says About the Art of Being a Good Reader in a World Without Libraries, Liberal Arts, and God.
In 2018, Jamie retired after 30 years of teaching public high school students something about literature, reading, and writing. He reads, writes, cooks, and walks with his wife, Jane, near the Mississippi River in Frontenac, Minnesota. He also helps clean and repair tombstones of their future neighbors in the village’s historic cemetery.