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RICOEUR, WNERGAN, AND THE 1 INTELLIGIBILITY OF COSM.lC TIME JAMES R. PAMBRUN Bt. Paul University Ottawa, Oanada Introduot:Wn HE QUESTION OF TIME ihas entered into the work f ·every major philosopher s1ince Aristotle. As Heidegger (who is 1fond oif il'eco·vering these forgotten questions) has shown, time is not merely an ar.bitrary WJay of reckoning or calculating the fleeting moments of day-to-day life; rather, it is an exipressrion of our very mode of heing.1 One of the major philosophers who !has taken up this question rin our own day and has pfaced it at the center of his·continuing work in rpib.ilosophical anthropology is Pia.JUI Ricoeur. He has ·shown how the ·symbols, metaphors, and narratives of time offer orientations to reflection: they not only point to the existential romplexities of human iftfe in its personal, social, and cosmic dimensions ibut also to its fundamental intentionrulities to.ward meaning that undergird these objectifications of time. Beyond this, Ricoeur himself has set up the question of time on new foundations. In his own elaho!I'ation of this question, he identified two distinct objectifications of time: cosmic 1 "Have we not, as Heidegger says, gained access, thanks to time, to the 'original phenomenological knowledge of the inner and unified structure of transcendence'?" Paul Ricoeur, Fallible Man (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1967), p. 66. Besides Heidegger's classic Being and Time, see also his Basic Problems in Phenomenology (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1982): "Dasein's basic constitution is grounded in Temporality" (p. 228). Also, The History of the Concept of Time (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1985), especially pp. 140-141. 471 47~ JAMES R. PAMBRUN time ;and the time of the human spirit. When taken together these obj.ecbifications create ia paradox or pairadoxes (he names them "aporias ") for the general :intelligibility of time. They occur when ·oosmic time oonfronts existential time. Co.smic time, wihich :identifies the relationship between a;ny two arbitrarily chosen moments in ovder to measure a specific magnitude of time, is indifferent to eristentiail time, which is based on existentially, therefo!l.'e, meaningfully-detemiined categories of past, present, 1and foture.2 Fail' from parrulyziing his thinking, howevier, these apori.:as invite Ricoeur not only to probe mo!l.'e deeply the intelli~hilities he is seeking to understand ibut also to seek &om different disciplmes a Jight which may he shed on resolving these aporias.3 In this article, I do not wish to address tihe question of the intelligibility of time '3.t the more general ihermeneuticaJ level that Ricoeur has identified for his own work. I wish ·rather to engage RicoeUT's :analysii.s o[ one s1ide of this question, namely, the meaning and mtel:l.igibility of cosmic And f& this purpose the general :ftmmework that Ricoeur has set urp in his discussion on the phenomenology of time in the thivd volume of ihis most rrecent work, Time and Narrative, is ru:t a;pproprri.ate starting point for our o.wn study. 2 Paul Ricoeur, Temps et reoit, Tome 3 (Paris: Cerf, 198·5), pp. 30 & 31. The other volumes in this trilogy are Temps et reoit, Tome 1 (Paris: Seuil, 1983) [Eng. Time and Narrative, Vol. 1 [trans. by Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer] (Chicago .and London: University of Chicago Press, 1984)]; Temps et reoit, Tome 2, La configuaration dans le 1'ecit de fiction (Paris: Seuil, 1984) [Eng. Time and Narrative, Vol. 2 (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1985)]; the English translation of the third volume appeared from the same publisher in 1988. For a good outline of Ricoeur's program in these three volumes see John Van den Hengel's review of Volume 2 in Eglise et TMologie 18 (1987) : 401-405. a Note, for example, the three disciplines Ricoeur engages in dialogue in his recent three-volume work Temps et recit: literary works on narrative, historiography , and phenomenology. Earlier he wrote, "Finally, by carrying the debate to the level of language, I have the feeling of encountering other currently viable philosophies on a common terrain." "Existence and Hermeneutics ," in Oonfiict of Interpretations (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1974...


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