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Kierkegaardian Virtues and the Problem of Self-Effacement

journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-05, 04:11 authored by Patrick StokesPatrick Stokes
One of the more well-known objections to Kierkegaard’s moral philosophy is that he presents a view of moral life that is self-absorbed almost to the point of solipsism, focused on the subject’s own moral status rather than acting from responsiveness to others. Kierkegaard commentators have gone to great lengths to debunk such readings, to demonstrate that Kierkegaard is indeed a far more other-oriented ethicist than such critiques would suggest. At the same time, many—though not all—commentators have come to read Kierkegaard as a Christian virtue ethicist. Yet virtue ethics itself has been objected to on the grounds that it is (1) self-effacing (it requires us to act for reasons or from motives other than those virtue ethics itself endorses), (2) egoistic (it serves the benefit of the agent themselves), and (3) self-absorbed (it causes the agent to focus on themselves rather than others). This paper considers whether and how these objections might apply to Kierkegaard, and argues that his moral psychology has specific resources for answering these objections in distinctive ways.

History

Journal

Religions

Volume

14

Pagination

1-14

Location

Basel, Switzerland

ISSN

2077-1444

eISSN

2077-1444

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

10

Publisher

MDPI

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