David J. Kangas

Assistant Professor

My interests are in continental philosophy, history of philosophy, and philosophy of religion. I have particular interests in the 19th century (Hegel, Romanticism, Kierkegaard, Marx), Neoplatonism (Plotinus, Eckhart), and contemporary continental thought (Heidegger, Levinas and Reiner Schürmann). 

In my book Kierkegaard's Instant (Indiana University Press, 2007) I consider the problem of temporality and beginning in Kierkegaard's early works, arguing that Kierkegaard draws on the phenomena of time to derail the idealist project. 

My current research centers upon the work of Reiner Schürmann.  Schürmann’s overall project may be described as offering, in the wake of the catastrophes of the 20th century, a phenomenology of the political.  What concerns Schürmann is how ultimate referents—ideas that purport to offer foundations to “consolidate the city and console individual souls”—hinge upon a dangerous denial of the actual phenomenological context of human life.  Powerfully linking Heidegger’s analytic of Dasein with Hannah Arendt’s political phenomenology Schürmann sets forth tragic thought as what might become possible at the end of metaphysics.  For Schürmann, it is essential to “learn to love the tragic.”  My work on Schürmann explores what this phrase might mean.  What must be learned and unlearned as one learns to love the tragic?  I am particularly interested in the conjuncture of the love of the tragic with what Schürmann, in his earliest work on Meister Eckhart, called an “errant joy.”

David Kangas
Contact Information

Building Location: Science 1
See Building #9: Map

Office Location: S 241 - See Map

Phone: (209) 667-3209

E-mail: dkangas@csustan.edu

A further research project of mine, linked to but going beyond my work on Schürmann, concerns the place of such an errant joy in western philosophy.  At various moments in the history of western philosophy joy shows up in terms of its anarchical possibilities, joined with a sense of the groundlessness or “whylessness” of human life.  As thinkers in this line I would also include Plotinus, certain medieval “heretics” like Marguerite Porete and Meister Eckhart, Spinoza, and Reiner Schürmann himself.

Additionally I serve on the editorial board and as translator for the forthcoming Kierkegaard's Journals and Notebooks (11 vols.).

Prior to CSU Stanislaus, I taught at Florida State University and Santa Clara University.



Kierkegaard's Instant: On Beginnings (Indiana University Press, 2007).

Research Articles

“The Critique of Law in Reiner Schürmann’s Broken Hegemonies,” appearing in Hegemony and Singularity, edited by Vishwa Adluri (under review).

“Dangerous Joy: Marguerite Porete’s Goodbye to the Virtues,” The Journal of Religion, Vol. 1, Number 93, July 2011, pp. 299-321.

“An Occasional Discourse (Purity of Heart),” in Christian Spirituality: The Classics, ed. by Arthur Holder (New York: Routledge Press, 2009), pp. 281-292.

“Reiner Schürmann’s Topology of the Modern in Broken Hegemonies,” appearing inEpoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy (forthcoming, 2010).

“Hearing, Patiently: Time and Salvation in Kierkegaard and Levinas,” co-authored with Martin Kavka, appearing in Between Friends and Neighbors: Søren Kierkegaard and Emmanuel Levinas, ed. by David Wood and Aaron Simmons (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008).

“Being Today: Religion and Emotion in Kierkegaard,” appearing in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion,” ed. by John Corrigan (Oxford: Oxford University Press), forthcoming 2007.

“J.G. Fichte: From Transcendental Ego to Existence,” to appear in Kierkegaard and his German Contemporaries, ed. by Jon Stewart (London: Ashgate Ltd., 2007), pp. 67-95.

“Which Hegel? Reconsidering the Hegel-Kierkegaard Relation,” in Papers of the Nineteenth Century Theology Group, vol. XXXV (Wipf and Stock, 2004), pp. 15-34.

“The Metaphysics of Interiority: The Two Paths of Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard,” inSchleiermacher und Kierkegaard: Subjectivität und Wahrheit / Subjectivity and Truth  (New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2006), pp. 655-672.

“Absolute Subjectivity: Kierkegaard and the Question of Onto-Theo-Egology,” Philosophy Today, 47:4 (Winter 2003), pp. 378-391.         

“The Very Opposite of Beginning with Nothing: Guilt Consciousness in Kierkegaard’s Gospel of Sufferings (IV),” International Kierkegaard Commentary 15: Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, ed. Robert Perkins (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2005), pp. 287-313.

“Conception and Concept: The Two Logics of The Concept of Irony and the Place of Socrates,” appearing in Søren Kierkegaard and the Word(s), ed. by Gordon Marino and Poul Houe (C.A. Reitzel, 2003), pp. 180-191.

“The Logic of Gift in Kierkegaard’s Four Upbuilding Discourses (1843),” Kierkegaard Studies: Yearbook 2000 (Walter de Gruyter: Berlin, New York, 2001), pp. 100-120.

“Like for Like: The Metaphysical Problematic of Kierkegaard’s Works of Love,” in Ethik der Liebe, Studien zu Kierkegaards Taten der Liebe, Ingolf U. Dalferth (ed.), Religion in Philosophy and Theology Series no. 5 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002), pp. 123-138.

“Kierkegaard as Apophatic Theologian,” Enrahonar 29 (1998), pp. 119-123.

Published Translations

Søren Kierkegaard’s Journals and Notebooks, vol. 4 (of 11), trans. from the Danish by Alastair Hannay, Bruce Kirmmse, George Pattison, Vanessa Rumble, Brian Soderquist and David Kangas (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011).

Søren Kierkegaard’s Journals and Notebooks, vol. 3 (of 11), trans. from the Danish by Alastair Hannay, Bruce Kirmmse, George Pattison, Vanessa Rumble, Brian Soderquist and David Kangas (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).

Søren Kierkegaard’s Journals and Notebooks, vol. 2 (of 11), trans. from the Danish by Alastair Hannay, Bruce Kirmmse, George Pattison, Vanessa Rumble, Brian Soderquist and David Kangas (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).

Søren Kierkegaard’s Journals and Notebooks, vol. 1 (of 11), trans. from the Danish by Alastair Hannay, Bruce Kirmmse, George Pattison, Jon Stewart and David Kangas (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006).

Meister Eckhart: A Study in Speculative Theology, by Hans L. Martensen, translation from the Danish.  This monograph study appears in Between Hegel and Kierkegaard: Hans Martensen’s Philosophy of Religion, translations by Curtis L. Thompson and David J. Kangas (Atlanta: Oxford/Scholars Press, 1997), pp. 148-243.


I teach Introduction to Philosophy, Ethics and courses in the history of western philosophy.