The Ethical as a ‘Stage’ of Existence: <i>Either/Or</i> and Radical Choice

C. Stephen Evans

in Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780199272174
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602061 | DOI:
The Ethical as a ‘Stage’ of Existence: Either/Or and Radical Choice

Show Summary Details


Though Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous authorship poses interpretive challenges, its ironical and humorous literary character does not make it impossible to develop from it an ethical theory. Readers of Kierkegaard must be wary of fashionable attempts to make Kierkegaard ‘postmodern’. They should avoid as well the temptation to understand the ethical life as a humanistic stance devoid of belief in God; Kierkegaard’s ethicists are actually pious believers who attend church regularly. Finally, Alasdair MacIntyre’s reading of Kierkegaard must also be resisted: Kierkegaard and the pseudonyms of Either/Or do not advocate a doctrine of radical choice, as MacIntyre claims. Instead, the three spheres or stages are ranked in the order that they are because the higher spheres realize the aims of the lower ones. The ethical life is not abandoned in one’s movement to the religious life; instead, it is fulfiled.

Keywords: Alasdair MacIntyre; either/or; ethical; Kierkegaard; postmodern; radical choice; spheres; stages

Chapter.  10623 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.