Refiguring the essential word: The work of the imagination in Ricoeur's late apprenticeship

Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (2):229-237 (2011)
Abstract
This article examines the theme of imagination in Ricoeur’s Living Up to Death (2009[2007]). I argue that his meditations on death are centered on the question of the imagination, and that the exorcizing mode of detachment so crucial to Ricoeur’s position amounts to a ‘refiguration’ of what he terms the ‘make-believe’. Drawing on his work in Time and Narrative , I chart the instances of the make-believe attached to death and dying as disclosures of vulnerability attending the stages of Ricoeur’s threefold mimesis. This means that Living Up to Death involves a struggle of the narrative or poetic imagination to refigure the misleading con-figurations of the natural imagination when faced with death. Ricoeur’s interest in ‘schematizing’ the eternal and Essential, as well, marks a specific connection between the labors of the productive imagination and the refigura-tion of death as a transfiguration of the living
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