The Role of Imagination in Kierkegaard’s Account of Ethical Transformation

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 100 (2):202-231 (2018)
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: In this essay, I argue that Kierkegaard endorses a “grace model” of ethical transformation – that radical normative change is not a function of agent-choice, rational or otherwise. After showing how grace functions in Kierkegaard’s account of religious transformation, I go on to argue that he offers a parallel account in the case of ethical conversion, the latter drawing from a description of transformation detailed in Kierkegaard’s Repetition. There we find an example of ethical transformation that challenges received interpretations of the mechanics of Kierkegaard’s aesthetic-to-ethical transition. In the same way that God’s love is said to transform the heart of the Christian, Kierkegaard thinks that certain ethical encounters transform the desires and commitments of the aesthete.



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Ryan S. Kemp
Wheaton College, Illinois

Citations of this work

How to become an idealist: Fichte on the transition from dogmatism to idealism.R. S. Kemp - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (6):1161-1179.
Kierkegaard on the transformative power of art.Antony Aumann - 2021 - History of European Ideas 47 (3):429-442.

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References found in this work

After virtue: a study in moral theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1981 - Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
An enquiry concerning human understanding.David Hume - 1955 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press. pp. 112.

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