Self-Love and Neighbor-Love in Kierkegaard's Ethics
Kierkegaard faces a dilemma. On the one hand, he endorses the biblical command to love our neighbors as ourselves. As such, he thinks self-love and neighbor-love should be symmetrical, similar in kind as well as degree. On the other hand, he recommends relating to others and ourselves differently. We are to be lenient, charitable and forgiving when dealing with others; the opposite when dealing with ourselves. To resolve this tension, I argue that being more stringent with ourselves is not a moral ideal for Kierkegaard. It is a gambit designed to rehabilitate us from our tendency toward the opposite extreme.