and Conviction : Conversations With Francois Azouvi and Marc De
by Paul Ricoeur,
Francois Azouvi (Contributor), Marc B. De Launay, Kathleen
Critique and Conviction offers a
rare opportunity to share personally in the intellectual life
and journey of the eminent philosopher Paul Ricoeur.
Internationally known for his influential works in hermeneutics,
theology, psychoanalysis, and aesthetics, he has until now been
silent on the subject of himself. In this book - a conversation
about his life and work with Francois Azouvi and Marc de Launay
- Ricoeur reflects on a variety of philosophical, social,
religious, and cultural topics, from the paradoxes of political
power to the relationship between life and art, and life and
death. In the first of eight conversations, Ricoeur traces the
trajectory of his life, recounting the origins of his
convictions and the development of his intellect during the
tragic events of the twentieth century. Declaring himself the
"son of a victim of the First World War," Ricoeur, an
orphan, sketches his early years in the house of stern but
loving grandparents, and the molding of his intellect under the
tutelage of Roland Dalbiez, Gabriel Marcel, and Andre Philip.
Ricoeur tells the intriguing story of his capture and five-year
imprisonment by the Germans during World War II, when he and his
compatriots fashioned an intellectual life complete with a
library and lectures, and when he, amazingly, was able to
continue his dissertation research. Interweaving anecdotes with
philosophical meditations, Ricoeur recounts his relationships
with some of the greatest figures of the twentieth century
including Heidegger, Jaspers, and Eliade. He also shares his
views on French philosophers and explains his tumultuous
relationship with Jacques Lacan. And while expressing his
deepest respect for the works of Claude Levi-Strauss and Michael
Foucault, Ricoeur reserves his greatest admiration for the
narratologist Algiridas Julien Greimas. Ricoeur also explores
the relationship between the philosophical and religious
domains, attempting to reconcile the two poles in his thought.
Readers who have struggled with Ricoeur's work will appreciate
these illuminating discussions that provide an invaluable key to
his writings on language and narrative, especially those on
metaphor and time. Critique and Conviction is an essential book
for anyone interested in philosophy and literacy criticism..
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Essay by by G. D. Robinson.
Hermeneutics is both science and art. In many ways this beguilingly
simple statement is responsible for the modern ferment in hermeneutics - a
process begun with F. Schleiermacher (1768-1834) and his attempt to gain
meaning through understanding the mind of the author; given significant
impetus more recently in the seminal work of Hans-Georg Gadamer and his call
for a dialectic between the horizons of the text and reader; and radicalized
in the increasingly reader-response oriented hermeneutics of today.
The French philosopher, Paul Ricoeur, while essentially
operating from within the reader oriented end of the spectrum, is
uncomfortable with the intrinsic subjectivity associated with such
hermeneutics and seeks to walk the fine line between a call for
objectivity (grounded in some way in the text), and yet at the same time
seeking to remain "open" to what the text may have to say.
Ricoeur's hermeneutic of suspicion represents his attempt to retain both
science and art, whilst disallowing either an absolute status;
"Hermeneutics seems to me to be animated by this double motivation:
willingness to suspect, willingness to listen; vow of rigor, vow of
obedience." Distilling the essence of Ricouer's hermeneutics here
stated, A. Thisleton notes that:
The first addresses the task of 'doing away with idols,'
namely, becoming critically aware of when we project our own wishes and
constructs into texts, so that they no longer address us from beyond
ourselves as "other." The second concerns the need to listen in
openness to symbol and to narrative and thereby to allow creative events
to occur "in front of" the text, and to have their effect on us...