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Kierkegaard on Patience and the Temporality of the Self: The Virtues of a Being in Time

Anthony Rudd
The Journal of Religious Ethics
Vol. 36, No. 3 (Sep., 2008), pp. 491-509
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40378016
Page Count: 19
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Kierkegaard on Patience and the Temporality of the Self: The Virtues of a Being in Time
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Abstract

This paper examines Kierkegaard's discussion of patience in some of his Upbuilding Discourses, and its connection with his understanding of the nature of selfhood as it appears both in the Discourses and in The Sickness unto Death. That understanding stresses that selfhood is not simply given, but is a task to be achieved—although a task that can only be achieved by the self that is formed in the process of undertaking it. For Kierkegaard, an account of the self that recognizes its essential temporality must give a crucial role to patience as a virtue necessary for the formation and maintenance of personal identity. However, although the self is essentially temporal for Kierkegaard, it is also essentially such as to participate in eternity, and this complexity and tension in his concept of the self gives his understanding of patience a particular character—one that presents an important challenge to some of the dominant assumptions of recent and contemporary philosophy in both the analytic and the continental traditions.

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