On Neighborly and Preferential Love in Kierkegaard's Works of Love

Journal of Philosophy and Scripture 8:1-20 (2019)
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I consider the question of the possibility of the coexistence of neighborly love (love for strangers) and preferential love (love for persons because of or despite their attributes). This question has long perplexed interpreters of Kierkegaard. I make a threefold intervention into this interpretive debate. First, I aim to show that we shouldn’t privilege preferential love over neighborly love. Second, I reformulate preferential and neighborly love on a ‘topological’ model, so as to get a better grip on them. And third, I argue that preferential love can coexist with neighborly love insofar as the latter is granted primacy over the former.

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Matt Rosen
Oxford University


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