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Kierkegaard's Ethic of LoveDivine Commands and Moral Obligations$
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C. Stephen Evans

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199272174.001.0001

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Who Is My Neighbour? Can Love Be a Duty?

Who Is My Neighbour? Can Love Be a Duty?

(p.180) 8 Who Is My Neighbour? Can Love Be a Duty?
Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love

C. Stephen Evans (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

All love must be transformed by neighbour-love, including self-love – the type of love the command presupposes. Ironically, though everyone has self-love, only those with neighbour-love have the right kind of self-love. Neighbour-love means wanting the other’s good, generally; more specifically, neighbour-love means wanting the neighbour – and oneself – to know the Good, namely, God. Love is a duty, and, according to Kierkegaard, a daunting one: I must love all of humanity as particular neighbours, and I must love them all equally. No person has greater moral worth than any other. Anyone with whom I come in contact is my neighbour, and I therefore have a duty to love him or her.

Keywords:   duty, equality, humanity, Kierkegaard, neighbour-love, particularity, self-love, universality, Works of Love

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