Nicolae Irina

Works of Love: A Reconsideration of Kierkegaard's Ethical Standpoint

The intention of my critical inquiry is to challenge the view that Kierkegaard sacrifices all notions of ethical responsibility before a fundamentally “irrational” account of religious faith. Reconsidering the significance of Kierkegaard’s (in)famous “teleological suspension of the ethical” (Fear and Trembling) requires a close analysis of Kierkegaard’s “love of neighbour / the other” (Works of Love). It is my contention that there is yet a great deal to be accounted for in terms of re-evaluating Kierkegaard’s later views on ethical responsibility, which are notably more in agreement, in fact, with contemporary developments in continental thought, like Levinas’ ethics of alterity. Rebutting the misleading traditional theory that Kierkegaard advocates faith in the detriment of ethical responsibility, I explain that even Levinas’ own critique is the result of a common misreading of Kierkegaard’s ethics, confining its significance merely to Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous works, especially Either/Or and Fear and Trembling.