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Either/Or is an influencial book written by Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, in which he explored the "phases" or "stages" of existence.

The first volume, the "Either", exemplifies the "aesthetic" phase of existence, while the second volume, the "Or", showcases the "ethical" phase. For Kierkegaard, the phases are progressive. The aesthete, accordingly to Kierkegaard's model, will eventually find him- or herself in "despair," a state that results from a recognition of the limits of an aesthetic approach to life. The only cure for this existential despair[?] is to make a "leap" to the second phase, the "ethical," which is characterized as a phase in which conscious choice and commitment replace the random and inconsistent longings of the aesthetic mode. Ultimately, for Kierkegaard, the aesthetic and the ethical are both superseded by the final phase, which he terms the "religious" mode.

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