Kierkegaard on Love

John Lippitt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter offers an overview of some key themes in Kierkegaard’s writings on love. After a brief discussion of love in Either/Or and Fear and Trembling, it concentrates on Works of Love. It explores the centrality of divine love and the distinction between love of the neighbor and “preferential loves” such as erotic love and friendship, arguing that for Kierkegaard preferential loves at their best are infused with neighbor-love. It goes on to argue that Kierkegaard’s “vision” view of love anticipates aspects of contemporary such views, such as that of Troy Jollimore. But for Kierkegaard, agapic neighbor-love (and not just erotic love and friendship) requires attention to the particularities of the person loved, so neighbor-love is not just generalized benevolence. Finally, the chapter briefly sketches how the foregoing insights may be applied to the task of distinguishing proper from improper self-love.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Love
EditorsChristopher Grau, Aaron Smuts
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford University Press


  • Kierkegaard
  • Love
  • Self-love
  • Neighbour-Love
  • Erotic Love


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