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Selfless Love and Human Flourishing in Paul Tillich and Iris Murdoch$
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Julia T. Meszaros

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198765868

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198765868.001.0001

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Grappling with a Tension

Grappling with a Tension

Love and the Self in Søren Kierkegaard

(p.22) 2 Grappling with a Tension
Selfless Love and Human Flourishing in Paul Tillich and Iris Murdoch

Julia T. Meszaros

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 examines Kierkegaard’s thought on love and the self in order to better penetrate Tillich’s and Murdoch’s own ideas on the subject, which directly engage Kierkegaard and his more radical successors. It is argued that Kierkegaard still sought to maintain a link between selfless love and individual human flourishing. He insists that true (Christian) love is based on self-denial but equally calls the individual to authentic existence through self-affirmation. The chapter closely engages Kierkegaard’s critics and rejects interpretations which suggest that Kierkegaard rejects eros and self-love. It is nonetheless concluded that Kierkegaard fails to adequately integrate selfless love and human flourishing insofar as he does not affirm the needs and desires of the finite individual, and has a tendency towards solipsism. The chapter ends with a discussion of Tillich’s and Murdoch’s reception of Kierkegaard.

Keywords:   Søren Kierkegaard, eros, self-love, self-denial, self-affirmation, finite individual, Paul Tillich, Iris Murdoch, Kierkegaard reception

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