Søren Kierkegaard - Either/Or: A Fragment of Life (1843)

A fantastic collection of philosophical writing from Kierkegaard; particularly enjoyable are moments from "Crop Rotation" and beyond. His analytic meanderings about Don Giovanni aside, the text is full of absolutely brilliant ideas intermingled with spirituality; it almost seems like the greatest truths he explores are in moments of diversion. Of course some of Kierkegaard's ideals are outdated, but they are presented in a fashion both undeniably thought provoking and timeless in much of this writing. He also has a beautifully endearing mode of writing and a surprising sense of humor considering the time. "The Seducer's Diary" is particularly entertaining and his meditations even through "The Edifying" are worth exploring even for just one read. Notable ideas include ethics, individualism, and the consequences of shared humanity. Kierkegaard focuses on concepts outlining the value of individualism and personal responsibility. These ideas will of course resound more directly with modern conservatives, and likely be misused, but have a depth beyond the obvious as Kierkegaard considers behavior and its consequences more thoroughly than most. His critiques may appear too cautious but he is laying philosophical groundwork for modern thinkers with this line of thought, despite his simultaneous split from traditional and modern thinkers. A good example of this within Either/Or is his explanation of faith. This concept is philosophically useful for Kierkegaard but is largely dismissed or actively repudiated by modernist thinkers. Still, he does not rely on conceptual stanchions to bolster his arguments, rather assembling independently founded ideas regarding society, the individual, and the dangers of avarice.