Such a capacity is an essential requisite for a reflective philosophy. “Humans as the Subject Matter of Philosophy” in. That Paul Ricoeur was one of the most important philosophers of the 20 th century needs little emphasis. Another key feature of mimesis2 is the ability of the internal logic of the narrative unity (created by emplotment) to endow the connections between the elements of the narrative with necessity. In Oneself As Another Ricoeur describes how the complexity of the question of “who?” opens directly onto a certain way of articulating the question of personal identity: “how the self can be at one and the same time a person of whom we speak and a subject who designates herself in the first person while addressing a second person. For Ricoeur, a life can have an aim because the teleological structure of action extends over a whole life, understood within the narrative framework. French philosopher Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005) developed an account of narrative and narrative identity that has been highly influential. In 1935 he was married to Simone Lejas, with whom he has raised five children. He sought to combine the existentialist themes of Gabriel Marcel (incarnate existence) and Karl Jaspers (limit situations, such as birth, war, and death) with the methodological rigor of Husserlian phenomenology. These woâ¦ Paul Ricoeur died in his home on May 20, 2005. The difficulty will be . Movilizado en 1939 para la Segunda Guerra Mundial, Ricoeur fue hecho prisionero y estuvo detenido en Polonia y en Alemania durante cuatro años. Author of this biography is Charles Reagan who wrote Paul Ricoeur : His Life and His Work, Chicago University Press, 1996. Ricoeur served in World War II â spending most of it as a prisoner of war â and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. The result is that knowledge of myself and the world is not constituted by more or less accurate facts, but rather, is a composite discourse–a discourse which charts the intersection of the objective, intersubjective and subjective aspects of lived experience. This is because, in asking “Who am I?”, “I” who pose the question necessarily fall within the domain of enquiry; I am both seeker and what is sought. In addressing the question “who am I?” Ricoeur sets out first to understand the nature of selfhood â to understand the being whose nature it is to enquire into itself. Ricoeur’s flagship in this endeavor is his narrative theory. While at the Sorbonne he first met Gabriel Marcel, who was to become a lifelong friend and philosophical influence. With the realization that understanding involves interpretation, Ricoeur follows Heidegger's hermeneutical turn of thought. Paul RicÅur undoubtedly leaves a signature in the field of the human and social studies. Like Hegel, the dialectic involves identifying key oppositional terms in a debate, and then proceeding to articulate their synthesis into a new, more developed concept. In this endeavor, Ricoeur’s philosophy is driven by the desire to provide an account that will do justice to the tensions and ambiguities which make us human, and which underpin our fallibility. Catedrático en filosofía y doctor en Letras, fue profesor de instituto a partir de 1933. They weredevout members of the French Reformed Protestant tradition. The predicament lies in the anti-dualist realization that “I” and my body are not metaphysically distinct entities. Hismother died shortly thereafter and his father was killed in the Battleof the Marne in 1915, so Ricoeur and his sister were reared by theirpaternal grandparents and an unmarried aunt in Rennes. Ricoeur's semantic theory escapes easy characterization. Ricoeur's thought was the creative convergence of dominant strands in modern philosophy. In this paper, delivered as a faculty presentation, I explore Paul Ricoeurâs notion of the second naiveté as it manifests itself in post-critical theology and progressive Christianity. Paul Ricoeur. Ricoeur’s account is built upon Marcel’s conception of embodied subjectivity as a “fundamental predicament”(Marcel, 1965). 2020 RICOEUR (ONLINE) CONFERENCE : 6th-10th October. Ricoeur's work is best understood as an interplay of three philosophical movements: reflexive philosophy, phenomenology, and hermeneutics. We experience time as linear succession, we experience the passing hours and days and the progression of our lives from birth to death. Thus, who I am is not an objective fact to be discovered, but rather something that I must achieve or create, and to which I must attest. In the course of traversing Ricoeurâs hermeneutical arc, I . Moreover, Ricoeur's philosophy of metaphor and narrative continues to influence work in all of the human sciences. Ricoeur is a traditional philosopher in the sense that his work is highly systematic and steeped in the classics of Western philosophy. Login via Institution. Ricoeur's emphasis on the interpretive shape of understanding required reflection on the power of texts, symbols, and myths to disclose something about the human and its world. And it is to this condition that Ricoeur offers narrative as the appropriate framework. . It makes the relation of self and Other (and thus, ethics) primordial, or ontological â hence the title of Ricoeur’s book on ethics, Oneself As Another. In Ricoeur's philosophy, phenomenology and existentialism came of age and these essays provide an introduction to the Husserlian elements â¦ It is this condition, then, with which philosophy must grapple. On this view, all knowledge, including my knowledge of my own existence, is mediate and so calls for interpretation. Paul Ricoeur was among the most impressive philosophers of the 20th century continental philosophers, both in the unusual breadth and depth of his philosophical scholarship and in the innovative nature of his thought. Ricoeur describes the ethical perspective that arises from this view of the subject as “aiming at the good life” with and for others, in just institutions” (OAA 172). . However, the agency that effects that instrumentality is nothing other than “my body.” There is no I-body relation; the primitive term here is “my body.” The inherent ambiguity of the “carnate body” or “corps-sujet” can be directly experienced by clasping one’s own hands (an example often employed by Marcel and Merleau-Ponty). Neither the natural sciences nor the human sciences are fully autonomous disciplines. Ricoeur's theory of metaphor and text has had considerable import for the study of myth, literature, and religious language. Jean Paul Gustave RicÅur (French: [ÊikÅÊ]; 27 February 1913 â 20 May 2005) was a French philosopher best known for combining phenomenological description with hermeneutics. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2013. He weaves together heterogeneous concepts and discourses to form a composite discourse in which new meanings are created without diminishing the specificity and difference of the constitutive terms. However, as points of intersection of discourses, these meanings can come apart. Nevertheless, the possibility of redescription of the past offers us the possibility of re-imagining and reconstructing a future inspired by hope. In order to feel commanded by duty, one must first have the capacity to hear and respond to the demand of the Other. His conception of ethics is directly tied to his conception of the narrative self. The result is a proposed three-volume, systematic "philosophy of the will" that includes Freedom and Nature: The Voluntary and the Involuntary (1950), Fallible Man (1960), and Symbolism of Evil(1960). These two conceptions of time have traditionally been seen in opposition, but Ricoeur argues that they share a relation of mutual presupposition. Though a Christian philosopher whose work in theology is well-known and respected, his philosophical writings do not rely upon theological concepts, and are appreciated by non-Christians and Christians alike. It is to the temporal dimension of selfhood that Ricoeur has most directly addressed his hermeneutic philosophy and narrative model of understanding. For example, a narrative may begin with a culminating event, or it may devote long passages to events depicted as occurring within relatively short periods of time. We have, as he later describes it, a “double allegiance”, an allegiance to the material world of cause and effect, and to the phenomenal world of the freedom of the will by which we tear ourselves away from the laws of nature through action. Charles Taylor on Paul Ricoeur 1 July 2015 1 July 2015 socialimaginaries Charles Taylor , philosophy , Social Theory Charles Taylor , Modernity , Paul Ricoeur , Philosophy Now for the second video as part of our series on thinkers who have influenced Social Imaginaries. Ricoeur is a post-structuralist hermeneutic philosopher who employs a model of textuality as the framework for his analysis of meaning, which extends across writing, speech, art and action. Whatever states I may attribute to my body as its states, I do so only insofar as they are attributes of mine. Here, the Kantian influence comes to the fore. Ricoeur links narrative’s temporal complexity to Aristotle’s characterization of narrative as “the imitation of an action”. Its corruption leads to self-loathing and the destruction of self-esteem, which goes hand-in-hand with harm to others and injustice. For Ricoeur, the human subjectivity is primarily linguistically designated and mediated by symbols. The narrative coherence of one’s life can be lost, and with that loss comes the inability to regard oneself as the worthy subject of a good life; in other words, the loss of self-esteem. The ability to grasp oneself as a concrete subject of such a world requires a complex mode of understanding capable of integrating discourses of quite heterogenous kinds, including, importantly, different orders of time. In the face of the fragmentation and alienation of post-modernity, Ricoeur offers his narrative theory as the path to a unified and meaningful life; indeed, to the good life. At the same time, contemporary philosophy of mind reduces questions of “who?” to questions of “what?”, and in doing so, closes down considerations of self while rendering the moral question one of mere instrumentality or utility. Unlike post-structuralists such as Foucault and Derrida, for whom subjectivity is nothing more than an effect of language, Ricoeur anchors subjectivity in the human body and the material world, of which language is a kind of second order articulation. Ricoeur was a bookish child and successful student. Such a perspective merely spells out the premise of this practical and material conception of selfhood, with its presupposition of the world of action, lived with others. . This post explores how the philosopher Paul Ricoeur influenced the way we think of interpretation. Within the dialectic, the terms maintain their differences at the same time that a common “ground” is formed. Reflexive philosophy reaches back to Plato, finding modern expression in Descartes' concern for the cogito, Kant's critical philosophy, and recent post-Kantian French philosophy. Email: [email protected] His education included a Licenciée‧s Lettres from the University of Rennes (1932), Agrégation de Philosophie from the Sorbonne (1935), and the Doctorat e‧s Lettres in 1950. Ricoeur’s method entails showing how the meanings of two seemingly opposed terms are implicitly informed by, and borrow from, each other. His is a reflective philosophy, that is, one that considers the most fundamental philosophical problems to concern self-understanding. He states that the “problematic of existence” is given in language and must be worked out in language and discourse. “Explanation and Understanding” in, Ricoeur, Paul. Reciprocity forms the basis of those productive and self-affirming relations central to so much of ethics, namely friendship and justice. Selfhood is an intersubjectively constituted capacity for agency and self-ascription that can be had by individual human beings. The other is phenomenological time; time experienced in terms of the past, present and future. The central concern of this tradition is with the possibility of self-understanding. As self-aware embodied beings, we not only experience time as linear succession, but we are also oriented to the succession of time in terms of what has been, what is, and what will be. This view informs Ricoeur’s “tensive” style. We can redescribe our past experiences, bringing to light unrealized connections between agents, actors, circumstances, motives or objects, by drawing connections between the events retold and events that have occurred since, or by bringing to light untold details of past events. One of the major intellectual figures of the twentieth century, Paul Ricoeur has influenced a generation of thinkers. Ricoeur calls these “fault lines” because they are lines that can intersect in different ways in all the different aspects of human lives, giving lives different meanings. Ricoeur shares Marcel’s view that the answer to the question “Who am I?” can never be fully explicated. Similarly, in the essay “Explanation and Understanding” he discusses human behavior in terms of the tension between concepts of material causation, and the language of actions and motives. He explored the importance of psychoanalysis (Freud and Philosophy, 1970), structural linguistics and phenomenology (The Conflict of Interpretations, 1974), theory of myth and symbol (The Symbolism of Evil, 1967), and narrative theory (Time and Narrative, 1984 [Vol. This led Ricoeur into studies of the problem of evil and the character of religious language, as well as numerous works on the philosophy of history. Humans understand themselves through the interpretation of the cultural and linguistic world in which they find themselves. Accordingly, Ricoeur insists that philosophy find a way to contain and express those tensions, and so his work ranges across diverse schools of philosophical thought, bringing together insights and analysis from both the Anglo-American and European traditions, as well as from literary studies, political science and history. For example, in “Explanation and Understanding” Ricoeur argues that scientific explanation implicitly deploys a background hermeneutic understanding that exceeds the resources of explanation. There are two closely related questions that animate all of Ricoeur’s work, and which he considers to be fundamental to philosophy: “Who am I?” and “How should I live?” The first question has been neglected by much of contemporary analytical and post-modern philosophy. Ricoeur argues that the stability we enjoy with respect to the meanings of our lives is a tentative stability, subject to the influences of the material world, including the powers and afflictions of one’s body, the actions of other people and institutions, and one’s own emotional and cognitive states. . For Ricoeur, friendship and justice become the chief virtues because of their crucial role in the well-being of selfhood, and thus, in maintaining the conditions of possibility of selfhood. To the moral question, the debt is to Aristotle and Kant. He argues that human life has an ethical aim, and that aim is self-esteem: “the interpretation of ourselves mediated by the ethical evaluation of our actions. There is little doubt that Ricoeur's vast corpus of thought provides keen insight for the self-understanding of our age. Paul Ricoeur was born on February 27, 1913, in Valence, France, the son of Jules and Florentine Favre Ricoeur. There he explores the involuntary constraints to which we are necessarily subject in virtue of our being bodily mortal creatures, and the voluntariness necessary to the idea of ourselves as the agents of our actions. Ricoeur calls this phenomenon “solicitude” or “benevolent spontaneity” (OAA 190). Thus the journey to self-understanding is deepened yet again, since one must interpret the manifold signs, symbols, and texts which disclose the character of human life and its world. This also means that self-understanding can never be grasped by the kind of introspective immediacy celebrated by Descartes. One becomes who one is through relations with the Other, whether in the instance of one’s own body or another’s. On Paul Ricoeur (London & New York: Routledge, 1991), S.H. In addition to his own writing he was editor of the collection Éditions du Seuil, the editor of Revue de Métaphysique et Morale, and a member of the Institut International de Philosophie. Ricoeur's work influenced scholarship in virtually all of the human sciences. A key dialectic that runs through Ricoeur’s entire corpus is the dialectic of same and other. Maanâs theories are influenced by Paul Ricoeurâs writings in narrative identity theory, and she cites several of his works in her book (Maan, Internarrative Identity: Placing the Self 90). Crucial to all of Ricoeur's works was the development of what he called the "hermeneutical arch" of understanding detailed in his Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning (1976). By bringing together heterogeneous factors into its syntactical order emplotment creates a “concordant discordance,” a tensive unity which functions as a redescription of a situation in which the internal coherence of the constitutive elements endows them with an explanatory role. It configures events, agents and objects and renders those individual elements meaningful as part of a larger whole in which each takes a place in the network that constitutes the narrative’s response to why, how, who, where, when, etc. Paul Ricoeur. For resources on Ricoeur's work see his own Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, translated by John B. Thompson (Cambridge, 1981). Again, Kant looms large. Because selfhood is something that must be achieved and something dependent upon the regard, words and actions of others, as well as chancy material conditions, one can fail to achieve selfhood, or one’s sense of who one is can fall apart. Maanâs theories are influenced by Paul Ricoeurâs writings in narrative identity theory, and she cites several of his works in her book (Maan, Internarrative Identity: Placing the Self 90). This conception of the double nature of the self lies at the core of Ricoeur’s philosophy. Reflexivity is the act of thought turning back on itself to grasp the unifying principle of its operation—that is, the subject or "I." He emphasizes that we are “mutually vulnerable”, and so the fate (self-esteem) of each of us is tied up with the fate of others. Instead, as human beings we are never quite “at one” with ourselves; we are fallible creatures. On Ricoeur’s view, the question “Who am I ?” is a question specific to a certain kind of being, namely, being a subject of a temporal, material, linguistic and social unity. Ricoeur's work influenced scholarship in virtually all of the human sciences. While duty runs deep, Ricoeur argues that it is nevertheless preceded by a certain reciprocity. II]), all as part of the hermeneutical task. At this level of interpretation Ricoeur, as opposed to some other hermeneutical thinkers, argued for the importance of various explanatory sciences. Friends and just institutions not only protect against the suffering of self-destruction to which one is always vulnerable, they provide the means for reconstructing and redeeming damaged lives. Drawing on Heidegger’s notion of Dasein, Ricoeur goes on to write that “To say self is not to say myself . Ricoeur was a bookish child and successful student. Consequently, those philosophies lack the means to address the second question. Perception is not simply passive, but rather, involves an active reception (a concept that Ricoeur takes up and develops in his account of the ontology of the self and one’s own body in Oneself As Another, see 319â329). For example, we understand the full meaning of “yesterday” or “today” by reference to their order in a succession of dated time. His education included a Licenciéeâ§s Lettres from the University of Rennes (1932), Agrégation de Philosophie from the Sorbonne (1935), and the Doctorat â¦ In relation to the question “Who am I?”, Ricoeur acknowledges a long-standing debt to Marcel and Heidegger, and to a lesser extent to Merleau-Ponty. Central to Ricoeur’s defense of narrative is its capacity to represent the human experience of time. He uses the term âmimesisâ extensively in his examination of narrative, a technical term in linguistics and philosophy that â¦ His main contention, however, is that meaning is generated On the other hand, within cosmological time, the identification of supposedly anonymous instants of time as “before” or “after” within the succession borrows from the phenomenological orientation to past and future. The unity of “my body” is a unity sui generis. 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