I just found out that Paul Ricoeur died yesterday. He was definitely among my favorite philosophers of all time. His work on narrativity in particular defined how I think about many things, including the notion of the self. I don't yet have a whole lot to say about it, beyond how saddened I am. I think I will do what I did for Derrida's death last fall and collect the comments about his death. I'll then re-edit this post with my own thoughts after I've composed them.
The initial comments (hat tip to Siris) come from La Monde's report. (In French) Most of the comments coming out thus far are in French. Clipatria has links to most of those. I'll just post links to English language discussions.
For those not familar with Ricoeur, I'd suggest checking out the SEP entry and the IEP entry. The Boston Encyclopedia of Modern Western Theology also has an entry on him, with a more theological perspective. The Literary Encyclopedia has a short article with a more literary emphasis. I'd also suggest this discussion of narrative identity in Ricoeur by Maria Villela-Petit.
Brandon at Siris linked to the first chapter of What Makes Us Think which is a "conversation" between Ricoeur and a neurologist. I tend to think it is one of his lesser works by far. But some might like it. I'll see if I can't find some online selections that are better. My suggestion for my favorite work is his three volume Time and Narrative. (Each volume is quite short though) Probably his most important book is Oneself as an Other. His last English book is the upcoming The Course of Recognition which I'll definitely be purchasing.
Some might find this list of Ricoeur resources useful. Many are in French and many of the links are dead or moved. But it is still worthwhile. (And often a Google will find where the article moved off to)
The Telegraph in the UK has up a nice article on Ricoeur. The Guardian does as well. Most other newspaper and magazine reports seem largely dependent upon those two. I probably ought quote the saying that most reports are quoting of Ricoeur.
"If I had to lay out my vision of the world, I would say: given the place where I was born, the culture I received, what I read, what I learned (and) what I thought about, there exists for me a result that constitutes, here and now, the best thing to do."
I think that orients a lot of his thought, as well as where many might differ from him.
Just a few others I found via Technorati
Bruce Prescott, a Baptist minister, on Ricoeur. Og sa Alligevel has up some nice comments on Ricoeur's "non-synthetic mediation."
The blog "Fido the Yak" suggests checking out Ricoeur's acceptance speech last year for the John W. Kluge Prize in the Human Sciences.
Wow -- first Derrida, then Ricoeur... this is a bad time for the French philosophers!
A few more:
Akma's Thoughts has an interesting contrast between Derrida and Ricoeur.
The H was O has a kind of Derridean riff on Ricoeur's death. (I'm mixed on it as a tribute - but some might like it)
Medius Temporis has a very good writeup on Ricoeur and his death. I especially like this quote:
the concept of mimesis serves as an index of the discourse situation; it reminds us that no discourse ever suspends our belonging to a world. All mimesis, even creative-nay, especially creative --mimesis, takes place within the horizon of a being-in-the-world which it makes present to the precise extent that the mimesis raises it to the level of muthos. The truth of imagination, poetry's power to make contact with being as such- this is what I personally see in Aristotle's mimesis. Lexis is rooted in mimesis, and through mimesis metaphor's deviations from normal lexis belong to the great enterprise of "saying what is."", (Rule of Metaphor, 43)
The blog World Changing has up a rather nice epilogue to Ricoeur along with some implications for why people don't think about philosophy much.
Hesitant Hack has up some very nice comments as well - especially tied to his comments on remembering.
Clark, this is an interesting and helpful list of blogs, etc. Thanks.
Steve, It is a bad time for old French philosophers, but there is a reasonable crop of young and middle aged ones coming up behind: Jacob Rogozinski, Natalie Depraz, Francois-David Sebbah, Remi Brague, Jean-Luc Marion . . . . I was sad when Levinas died in 1995, though he seems to have Alzheimers when he died. I'm sad to see Ricoeur die (though he was 92). I was sad to see Derrida die, younger but not young. But I don't think It is a tragedy for French philosophy, per se.
Thanks for all the links, Clark. I appreciate it.
Not quite as much of an uproar as with Derrida's death - presumably because Ricoeur wasn't as well known among lay people or even among analytic philosophers.
Public Intelligence had a nice writeup on Ricoeur though. Crooked Timber has a brief writeup as well. Over at Times and Seasons both Jim Faulconer and Russell Fox have writeups. Russell writes more at his own blog. I should add Russell's writeup there is excellent and the fullest I've seen at any blog. (Yes, I still plan on writing something - I'm gathering my thoughts)
Someone else is doing the same thing I am and collecting editorials and blogging on Ricoeur. They have a much wider selection since they include French language comments. If you remember your French you might wish to check it out. (I really ought to use this opportunity to review and refresh my French. But I can tell already I'm not going to. What French I knew has definitely lapsed. As has my Russian.)
It does appear, however that Ricoeur's death is certainly viewed as far more important in Europe than in America. Not that surprising I suppose. Although one suspects that philosophers in general aren't given the accord in America that they are in Europe. Perhaps precisely because most analytic philosophy is so much more disconnected with life? Or will it simply take a bit more time for the more thoughtful comments to arrive? Probably the fact that classes are out for the summer has more to do with it - I've definitely noticed a decrease in philosophical oriented blogging in general since last month.
Having said that there are a few good essays up.
The Inside Higher Ed has up a nice remembrance of Ricoeur. They ask why people seem to being paying less attention to Ricoeur. "Yet Ricoeur, it seems, gave no one offense. With hindsight, that was a terrible oversight. A thinker receives significant publicity if (and only if) people speak his name in tones of apoplectic hysteria." A fairly good point. Although I'm not sure I'd agree with their later assertion that reading Deleuze is the philosophical equivalent of going Raving. (And isn't it mainly Ecstacy and Meth that they use at Raves? Not LSD?)
I thought I'd already put up the comments at University Diaries on Ricoeur. But I don't see them. So you probably will want to check that one out.
Cincinnatti Historian has up some brief thoughts on the Inside Higher Ed essay I mentioned above that one might wish to check out as well. "... they both wrote much more than is generally expected of one in their place and so it takes longer to figure out the really good stuff and start spreading it around."
Over at Befindlichkeit they have a few good links about Ricouer. The one most interesting (at least to me) was "The Knot between Ricoeur and Derrida." It is especially interesting in light of the Gadmer-Derrida debate.
After all the people praising Ricoeur one might have thought, in line with the Inside Higher Ed essay I linked to above, that there would be none of the bashing that accompanied the death of Derrida. Sadly, Logical Meme bucks the pattern.
Google's finished a big batch of reindexing so it's bringing up a lot of Ricoeur pages (including this one).
One nice writeup was at the University of Chicago, where Ricoeur "escapted to" for some time. Indeed that was where most of his important works were written. (IMO) The writeup brings up a rather important point about Ricoeur that I'd not mentioned above. Ricouer differed with Heidegger over the analysis of death in Being and Time. I really need to find some time to writeup some of these things on Ricoeur, because he does differ in important ways from Heidegger and Derrida. I think I tend to side with Heidegger over Ricoeur in important ways. But sometimes the differences are more subtle than one might at first think. I think the death analysis is one of those. (After all one must note that Heidegger is speaking of a certain phenomena of the anticipation of death)
Scott McLemee at The Inside Higher Ed has up a second part to his comments on Ricoeur.
Michael Berube has up a nice set of comments as well.
A few more.
The first is from Relax and Relish which brings up the relation of Ricoeur to justice.
Fido the Yak has up some more thoughts on Ricouer dealing with Freedom and Nature.
Rauno Rasanen has up some thoughts, contrasting Ricoeur with Foucault.
I probably should add Russell's second post. I'd put it in my sidebar, but really ought to put it here since it really gets into the heart of Ricoeur's philosophy. It's actually in response to Damon Linker's comments on Russell's original post. Damon Linker is the editor of First Things and also, a few months back, was a guest blogger at Times and Seasons. Russell's outline really is excellent.
A few more. First up is Political Affairs. It does a little overview of Ricoeur from a more marxist approach. I don't really like it too much. I think the author has a rather odd approach to the correspondence theory of truth. But I thought I'd put it up for all you people familiar with marxism.
Next up is Unrelated Thoughts.
I'm actually surprised at how few English original writeups on Ricoeur there are. When you do a search and see so many French and German writeups and so few English ones, one gets the feeling that Ricoeur was even more neglected or overlooked here than I thought.