Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 75 (3):455-485 (2013)

In this article, I argue that, despite Kierkegaard’s seemingly harsh critique of temperance, it plays a crucial role in his ethics developed under the pseudonym of Anti-Climacus in The Sickness unto Death and Practice in Christianity. Anti-Climacus, following Socrates in the Philebus, thinks of the good life as ”mixed’, in which the different and opposed dimensions of human existence, peras and apeiron, are in due proportion. In Anti-Climacus’s ethics, the process of realizing the ”mixed’ life does not, contra the Socratic conception, involve reason restricting desire but instead, the will grounding imagination in the facticity of human existence. It is through this process of perfection that we are able to imitate Christ, which is how Anti-Climacus ultimately understands the good life. Moreover, I suggest that we could understand this temperance as a virtue. In the conclusion, I show that Kierkegaard’s apparent critique of temperance is actually a critique of mediocrity.
Keywords Kierkegaard   temperance   virtue ethics   mediocrity   Socrates
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DOI 10.2143/TVF.75.3.2990793
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