Who Is My Neighbour? Can Love Be a Duty?

C. Stephen Evans

in Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780199272174
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602061 | DOI:
Who Is My Neighbour? Can Love Be a Duty?

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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

Chapter.  9249 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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