Journal of Religious Ethics 48 (4):557-577 (2020)

Wojciech Kaftanski
Harvard University
This essay demonstrates the prominence of imitation in Kierkegaard’s ethics. I move beyond his idea of authentic existence modeled on Christ and explore the secular dimension of Kierkegaard’s insights about human nature and imitation. I start with presenting imitation as key to understanding the ethical dimension of the relationship between the universal and individual aspects of the human self in Kierkegaard. I then show that Kierkegaard’s moral concepts of “primitivity” and “comparison” are a response to his sociological and psychological observations about imitation from an ethical point of view. In the final section of this paper, I briefly engage Friedrich Schleiermacher’s “ethics of individuality” and Gabriel Tarde’s “laws of imitation” to explore Kierkegaard’s consideration of ethics and imitation as situated within the context of a broader conversation on imitation.
Keywords Kierkegaard  Imitation  Ethics  Moral Psychology  Tarde  Schleiermacher  Comparison  Primitivity  Individuality
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Reprint years 2020
DOI 10.1111/jore.12322
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References found in this work BETA

"Exemplary Originality": Kant on Genius and Imitation.Martin Gammon - 1997 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 35 (4):563-592.
‘Imitation’ in Plato's Republic.J. Tate - 1928 - Classical Quarterly 22 (1):16-23.

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Kierkegaard’s Aesthetics and the Aesthetic of Imitation.Wojciech Kaftański - 2014 - Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook 19 (1):111-134.
Imitation in Infancy.Jacqueline Nadel & George Butterworth (eds.) - 2011 - Cambridge University Press.
Imagination and Imitation: Input, Acid Test, or Alchemy?C. M. Heyes - 1996 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 19 (1):131-132.


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