Passionate Commitment

Thought Experiment: Kierkegaard offered three possible lifestyles for an individual to passionately commit oneself to.

1) Aesthetics: Individual pleasure maximizing.  This would include the miser or the artist.

2) Ethics: Individuals that devote themselves to a system of morality, and follow it

3) Religion: God, obviously.

Are there other choices?

Kierkegaard argues that we cannot live a fulfilled life unless we completely and unconditionally dedicate ourselves to one lifestyle.  Do you think it is possible to be fulfilled without making such a commitment?


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3 Responses to Passionate Commitment

  1. Ross says:

    Kierkegaard’s categorizations seem to necessarily subsume all possibilities, since they basically boil down to: A. Pursuit of pleasure, B. Not pursuit of pleasure (with God), and C. Not pursuit of pleasure (without God). Logically any person would have to fit into one of the three if they are, as Kierkegaard presupposes, “passionately committing” themselves to a single lifestyle.

    Is making such a commitment necessary to live a fulfilled life? I would offer three answers, all of which lean towards “no.”

    1. It’s an empirical question which I am not qualified to answer.

    2. Kierkegaard’s argument strikes me as tautological. If you define “a fulfilled life” as “having passionately committed oneself to a certain lifestyle,” then of course he’s correct. But I imagine that other people have applied the linguistic label “fulfilled” to their lives despite not having lived in this way.

    3. I’m suspicious of any philosophical system that claims all people must take the same route to achieve fulfillment, and even more suspicious of a philosophical system that claims that the route in question precludes self-reflexivity, as an “unconditional dedication” necessarily would. Some people may find dogmatism useful – and if so I suspect Kierkegaard’s philosophy would be very appealing to them – but I think the burden of proof is decisively on him to show that ALL people feel this way.

    Of course, I haven’t read Kierkegaard, so it’s possible he’s fulfilled this burden of proof and I’m just not aware of it. Again, though, I’m skeptical.

  2. Ross says:

    Why does it say I posted at 6:48 PM? Can I some CST up in this biatch, please?

  3. chesleya says:

    All comments from now on should be in CST. I hope…

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