Is Ricoeur Still Relevant to the Philosophy of History?

Robert Piercey (University of Regina, Canada)
21.12.23, 18h (Finnish time), Zoom

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When Paul Ricoeur’s Time and Narrative was published, it was hailed as a major contribution to the philosophy of history. In the four decades since, Ricoeur’s brand of narrativism has fallen out of favour, and many of the specific claims he makes about historical narrative have been sharply criticized. Despite this, I argue that Ricoeur’s narrativism remains a powerful resource for philosophical reflections on the study of history. After reconstructing Ricoeur’s narrativism and placing it in its larger context, I discuss two sorts of criticism that have been directed at it: one made by literary theorists such as Monika Fludernik, and another made by philosophers such as Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen. I defend Ricoeur from both sorts of criticism, arguing that when his approach to history is compared to its competitors, it fares remarkably well. I conclude by making some suggestions about how philosophers of history might build on Ricoeur’s legacy today.

Last updated: 7.12.2023