History and Truth

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Northwestern University Press, 1965 - Philosophy - 333 pages
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Incredible originality of thought in areas as vast as phenomenology, religion, hermeneutics, psychoanalysis, intersubjectivity, language, Marxism, and structuralism has made Paul Ricoeur one of the philosophical giants of the twentieth century. The way in which Ricoeur approaches these themes makes his works relevant to the reader today: he writes with honesty and depth of insight into the core of a problem, and his ability to mark for future thought the very path of philosophical inquiry is nearly unmatched. In History and Truth, Ricoeur investigates the antinomy between history and truth, or between historicity and meaning. He argues that history has meaning insofar as it approaches universality and system but no meaning insofar as this universality violates the singularity of individuals' lives. Imposing unity upon truth, or unifying the diversity of knowledge and opinion, creates a singular and universal history but destroys historicity and subjectivity. Allowing for singularities in history promotes a multiplicity of truths over a single, unique truth and thereby annihilates system. This volume and the other new editions of Ricoeur's texts published by Northwestern University Press have joined the canon of contemporary continental philosophy and continue to contribute to emergent discussions in the twenty-first century. Book jacket.
 

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Contents

Preface to the First Edition 1955
3
Preface to the Second Edition 1964
15
Objectivity and Subjectivity in History
21
The History of Philosophy and the Unity of Truth
41
Note on the History of Philosophy and the Sociology
57
The History of Philosophy and Historicity
63
Christianity and the Meaning of History
81
The Socius and the Neighbor
98
Truth and Falsehood
165
Note on the Wish and Endeavor for Unity
192
Nonviolent Man and His Presence to History
223
State and Violence
234
The Political Paradox
247
Universal Civilization and National Cultures
271
True and False Anguish
287
Negativity and Primary Affirmation
305

The Image of God and the Epic of Man
110
A Personalist Philosopher
133
Bibliographic Note
329
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About the author (1965)

Professor of philosophy at the University of Paris and the University of Chicago, Paul Ricoeur has been described as "possibly the only younger philosopher in Europe whose reputation is of the magnitude of that of the old men of Existentialism---Marcel, Jaspers, Heidegger and Sartre . . . ." His work has been characterized as "the most massive accomplishment of any philosopher of Christian faith since the appearance of Gabriel Marcel." A practitioner of the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl mediated by a return to Immanuel Kant---in that things in themselves, though unknowable, are not excluded by bracketing existence but are acknowledged as the necessary conditions for the possibility of human experience---Ricoeur has examined those parts of experience---faulty, fallible, and susceptible to error and evil---that other phenomenologists, interested primarily in the cognitional, have neglected. In this respect he follows in the footsteps of Heidegger and Sartre, but he goes beyond them in his discovery of principles transcending human subjectivity that are amenable to spiritual interpretation. Here Ricoeur steps within the contemporary hermeneutic circle of Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer, on whom he has written. Ricoeur's hermeneutical method, however, has much in common with the methods of biblical exegesis, and in this respect his works should be especially appealing to seminarians and the clergy.

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