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A Passion for the Possible

Thinking with Paul Ricoeur

Brian Treanor

Publication Year: 2010

Paul Ricoeur's entire philosophical project narrates a passion for the possibleexpressed in the hope that in spite of death, closure, and sedimentation, life is opened by superabundance, by how the world gives us much more than is possible. Ricoeur's philosophical anthropology is a phenomenology of human capacity, which gives onto the groundless ground of human being, namely, God. Thus the story of the capable man, beginning with original goodness held captive by a servile will and ending with the possibility of liberation and regeneration of the heart, underpins his passion for the more than possible. The essays in this volume trace the fluid movement between phenomenological and religious descriptions of the capable self that emerges across Ricoeur's oeuvre and establish points of connection for future developments that might draw inspiration from this body of thought.

Published by: Fordham University Press

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ix-xii

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Introduction: How Much More Than the Possible?

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pp. 1-21

The death of Paul Ricoeur brings to a close the brilliant career of one of the best and most important philosophers of the twentieth century. His books and essays have informed and inspired untold numbers of scholars,...

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Asserting Personal Capacities and Pleadingfor Mutual Recognition

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pp. 22-26

The prize with which I have been honored by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, and for which I extend my sincere thanks, is motivated by the humanism attributed to my life’s work by these generous...

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Religious Belief: The Difficult Path of the Religious

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pp. 27-40

Dear friends, In agreeing to this title for my address to this prestigious group of conferences for 2000, I chose to add to it a more problematic subtitle: ‘‘the difficult path of the religious.’’ I propose, under the aegis of this heading,..

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Remembering Paul Ricoeur

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pp. 41-48

Early on he said, ‘‘The word is my kingdom and I am not ashamed of it.’’1 In a later book, Memory, History, Forgetting, he cited this from Vladimir Jankéloevitch as an epigram: ‘‘He who has been, from then on cannot not...

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Capable Man, Capable God

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pp. 49-61

For some thirty years I had the honor of conducting a dialogue with Paul Ricoeur on the subject of the ‘‘possible.’’ This dialogue extended from our initial exchanges during Ricoeur’s seminars at the Center for...

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The Source of Ricoeur’s Double Allegiance

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pp. 62-76

One of the abiding features of Paul Ricoeur’s long and productive career has been his ‘‘double allegiance’’ to philosophical and religious thought. Ricoeur tells us that he has ‘‘always moved back and forth between . . . a Biblical pole and a rational and critical...

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The Golden Rule and Forgiveness

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pp. 77-89

As is well known, Ricoeur seeks to counter the egological tendencies of philosophies of the subject. With the emphasis he puts on the role of the other, in ethics he belongs to the group of thinkers concerned with otherness within the sphere...

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Toward Which Recognition?

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pp. 90-111

The last book that Paul Ricoeur published in his life bears the beautiful title The Course of Recognition.1 I do not know whether it has already been translated into German, or if it has been, under what title. In my view,...

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Paul Ricoeur and Development Ethics

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pp. 112-128

What do Paul Ricoeur and Amartya Sen have to do with one another? On the surface, not much. Ricoeur is a French hermeneutic philosopher and theologian; Sen is a Nobel Prize–winning Indian economist. Ricoeur...

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Narrative Matters among the Mlabri: Interpretive Anthropology in International Development

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pp. 129-146

The most persuasive moment of Paul Ricoeur’s work for the development anthropologist is his idea of narrative imagination. This concept, applied to the development act of working together with the other who faces marginalization, fear, famine,...

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The Place of Remembrance: Reflections on Paul Ricoeur’s Theory of Collective Memory

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pp. 147-157

The theme of collective memory, conceived as a source of social cohesion, has come to assume a unique importance in the heterogeneous context of our contemporary societies. The public function of collective memory, in...

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Refiguring Virtue

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pp. 158-172

By Paul Ricoeur’s own account, the dynamic of detour and return is the central motif of his philosophy. As he said to Charles Reagan: ‘‘Detour/ return is the rhythm of my philosophical respiration.’’1 The pattern is...

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Emplotting Virtue: Narrative and the Good Life

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pp. 173-189

Paul Ricoeur’s work remains lamentably underappreciated a few years after this death. Several factors contribute to the relative neglect of his thought. First, Ricoeur is...

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Preserving the Eidetic Moment

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pp. 190-196

My original encounter with the person and the work of Paul Ricoeur began with an attempt to appropriate his thought for the retrieval of the symbolic. This led to a concern with what I called mythic-symbolic language...


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pp. 97-224


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pp. 225-228

Index of Names

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pp. 229-232

Series Page

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pp. 233-236

E-ISBN-13: 9780823249183
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823232925
Print-ISBN-10: 0823232921

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2010