It is rare that an academic book comes along that is—if I may say so—fun to read, but that is certainly the case for Ada Jaarsma’s Kierkegaard after the Genome. Of course, to be clear, just because it is fun to read, does not mean that it is also not a powerful intervention into both the study of Kierkegaard and into contemporary philosophy of science. In short, a rare and important text. By bringing Kierkegaard into conversation with post-genomic science and a variety of discourses in critical theory, Ada Jaarsma alters our understanding of both what Kierkegaard means today and of what doing philosophy amounts to, ultimately thereby, also powerfully engaging with the alleged, tenuous basis of modernity: secularism.
In a chapter from What Is Philosophy? that Jaarsma references in her book, Deleuze and Guattari present a “philosophical trinity,” where assumptions and problems immanently emerge only to be creatively confronted by the creation of concepts, all mediated by “conceptual personae” that, at bottom, are conceived as a “mobile territory.”1 I take this sort of metaphor, above all, to suggest a persistent process to the task that is philosophy, one that—like a surfer catching a wave—achieves constancy only to surrender it at a moment’s notice, in light of new developments. What Jaarsma’s book does so well is to chart one way of doing this, of reconfiguring the terrain of critical theory (crip, decolonial, race, and gender) as well as science and faith, and, ultimately, if I may say so, the—our—world itself. The discussion that follows adds further nuance and mobility to this entire process, opening it up for its next phase, opening up our world and our belief in it.
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, What Is Philosophy?, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 67.↩