The aim of this paper is to make sense of cases of apparent nonsense
in the writings of Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein. Against commentators such as
Cora Diamond and James Conant, we argue that, in the case of Wittgenstein,
recognising such a category of nonsense is necessary in order to understand the
development of his thought. In the case of Kierkegaard, we argue against the view
that the notion of the ‘absolute paradox’ of the Christian incarnation is intended
to be nonsensical. However, we recognise that Kierkegaard’s discussion of
Christianity uses a similar methodology to a Wittgensteinian grammatical investigation.
We maintain that by making sense of their respective views on nonsense
and paradox we are able more fully to appreciate their positions on, and approaches
to, ethics and religion.