Paul Ricœur and the “Theological Turn” in French Phenomenology

Philosophy Today 62 (1):163-179 (2018)
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Abstract

Dominique Janicaud considered Paul Ricœur an ally in the dispute with those who, like Emmanuel Lévinas and Jean-Luc Marion, allegedly failed to keep phenomenology within its proper methodological limits. Janicaud also claimed to have been guided by Ricœur when it came to developing positive proposals for the future direction of phenomenology. This paper argues, however, that Janicaud misinterpreted key passages in works by Ricœur that address phenomenological issues. It also offers alternative readings which take account of the wider context. Thus, for example, Ricœur’s comments on Lévinasian phenomenology are shown to be appreciative rather than polemical. The paper also discusses Ricœur’s rarely commented upon oblique and indirect response to Janicaud, which establishes that Ricœur chose to align himself with phenomenologists who had taken “the theological turn.”

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