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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 21, 2014

“Ne Quid Nimis.” Kierkegaard and the Virtue of Temperance

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Abstract

In this article I argue that-despite Kierkegaard’s seemingly harsh critique of temperance-it plays a crucial role in the ethics he worked out 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 a “mixed” life in which the different and opposed dimensions of human existence, peras and apeiron, are in due proportion. In Anti-Climacus’ ethics the process of realizing the “mixed” life does not, contra the Socratic conception, involve reason restricting desire, but, instead, the will (infused with self-knowledge) grounding imagination in the facticity of human existence. It is through this perfectionist process 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 form of temperance as a virtue. In the conclusion I show that Kierkegaard’s seeming critique of temperance is actually a critique of mediocrity

Published Online: 2014-6-21
Published in Print: 2014-6-1

© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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