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Document Details :

Title: Paul Ricoeurs werk
Subtitle: Proeve van een staalkaart (1913-2005)
Author(s): VANSINA, Fr.
Journal: Bijdragen
Volume: 68    Issue: 3   Date: 2007   
Pages: 246-251
DOI: 10.2143/BIJ.68.3.2022860

Abstract :
The amplitude and the diversity of Ricoeur’s philosophical production is astonishing. Three factors shed light upon this fact. First, his philosophical career covers seventy years wherein he witnessed the rise and the decline of tlve philosophical -isms. Further, he is a typical dialogical thinker: in conversation with the great classical and modern philosophers, and eager to listen to the methods and results of human an linguistics sciences. A third reason, particularly of differentiation, stems from his double conviction and commitment. On the one hand, he wants to be a rigorous philosopher, even keeping on a methodic agnosticism. On the other hand, however, he is a convinced Christian, and so he also likes to think critically – a rigorous philosophizing here is inappropriate – on religion, belief, and biblical language and topics. Nevertheless, it is only since 2000 that he is getting fully aware of the disintegrated impression many readers have from his publications. In his opinion, this impression is perfectly understandable: a reading public and myself are on completely different wavelengths. From reading my books people spontaneously nurture their own expectation with regard to coming publications, whereas my concern always was: am I answering your questions? So, in four recent articles Ricoeur speaks of his technical philosophy composed of eleven books: from The voluntary and the Involontary (1950) to the Course of Recognition (2004). He argues that the continuity of his basic philosophical writings is, each time, determined by a residue, a question the preceding publication left open. But, where to situate then his twenty-two other books into a global and consistent picture? All these other works are explorations of specific philosophical issues, and reflections and topics as prophecy, tragedy and religion bordering philosophy. For this matter, a fully rigorous philosophical discourse is not always possible. These writings, however, find their setting around the hard core of his philosophy. Ricoeur himself only mentions two genres: volumes of articles for a larger audience as History and Truth (1955) and university lectures as Lectures on Ideology and Utopia (1986). But other headings need to be added to umbrella other publications: historical and autobiographic writings, collection of articles on political topics, on the sacred and biblical language, on philosophy of law, and on medical ethical issues. On a more remote distance from the heart of his philosophy are located hundred of articles and interviews on philosophical topics, reflections on actual themes, an even some homilies. To amazement of many, two eminent Ricoeur commentators recently characterized his philosophy as “An Ontology of Life”. This is not as strange as it looks! Already in The voluntary and the Involontary. Ricoeur offers a phenomenology of “life, to be in life and birth”. To him, life also is a lived and hard-won value. In fact, belief in life is related to his main category of “originative affirmation” and of “hope”. Hope, however, is never a knowledge but only the regulative idea of my metaphysical thinking, and it remains inextricably bound up with the anguish for a senseless totality. “Nothing is closer to the anguish of nonsense than timid hope.”

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