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EUDAIMONIA AND AGAPE IN MACINTYRE AND KIERKEGAARD'S WORKS OF LOVE: Beginning Unpolemical Enquiry

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ABSTRACT

This essay explores connections and divergences between Alasdair MacIntyre's eudaimonistic ethic and Søren Kierkegaard's agapeistic ethic—perhaps the greatest proponents of these ethical paradigms from the past two centuries. The purpose of the work is threefold. First, to demonstrate an impressive amount of convergence and complementarity in their approaches to the transcendent grounds of an ethic of flourishing, the rigors necessary for a proper self-love, and the other-directed nature of proper social relations. Second, given the inapplicability of common dichotomies, to pinpoint more precisely where Kierkegaard departs from eudaimonism, and where MacIntyre departs from agapeism. Finally, to show that both Kierkegaard's and MacIntyre's grounds for departure are inadequate, and thus that the most central insights of eudaimonist and agapeist ethics can be harmonized to a greater extent than either Kierkegaard's or MacIntyre's framework can allow.
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Keywords: Alasdair MacIntyre; Kierkegaard; agape; duty; eudaimonia; love; self-interest

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Notre Dame

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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