Kierkegaard and the problem of special relationships: Ferreira, Krishek and the 'God filter'

John Lippitt

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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Kierkegaard’s Works of Love has often been accused of being unable to
deal adequately with ‘special relationships’. This debate has re-emerged in a fresh form in a recent disagreement in the secondary literature between M. Jamie Ferreira and Sharon Krishek. Krishek charges Ferreira with failing to acknowledge some important conflicts in Kierkegaard’s account of preferential love. In this article, I argue that some key passages are indeed insufficiently addressed in Ferreira’s account. Yet ultimately, I argue, Krishek ends up condemning the Kierkegaard of Works of Love unfairly. As a solution to Krishek’s concerns, I present a defence of Kierkegaard’s position centred round the image of God as a ‘filter’ through which our loves must pass. Also, while acknowledging that Krishek raises some important questions for Ferreira’s account, I outline a possible response, based in part on Kierkegaard’s idea that neighbour love is
only a ‘sketch’ until brought to fruition in any given manifestation of concrete love. Ultimately, I claim, Kierkegaard’s position in Works of Love can indeed be defended from Krishek’s critique.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-197
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal for Philosophy of Religion
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • God · Kierkegaard · Neighbour-love · Preferential love · Self-love


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