1st Edition

Paul Ricoeur’s Philosophical Anthropology as Hermeneutics of Liberation Freedom, Justice, and the Power of Imagination

By Roger W.H. Savage Copyright 2021
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book offers a unique account of the role imagination plays in advancing the course of freedom’s actualization. It draws on Paul Ricoeur’s philosophical anthropology of the capable human being as the staging ground for an extended inquiry into the challenges of making freedom a reality within the history of humankind.

    This book locates the abilities we exercise as capable human beings at the heart of a sustained analysis and reflection on the place of the idea of justice in a hermeneutics for which every expectation regarding rights, liberties, and opportunities must be a hope for humanity as a whole. The vision of a reconciled humanity that for Ricoeur figures in a philosophy of the will provides an initial touchstone for a hermeneutics of liberation rooted in a philosophical anthropology for which the pathétique of human misery is its non- or pre-philosophical source. By setting the idea of the humanity in each of us against the backdrop of the necessity of preserving the tension between the space of our experiences and the horizons of our expectations, the book identifies the ethical and political dimensions of the idea of justice’s federating force with the imperative of respect.

    Paul Ricoeur’s Philosophical Anthropology as Hermeneutics of Liberation will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in hermeneutics, phenomenology, ethics, political theory, and aesthetics.

    Acknowledgments ix

    Introduction 1
    Aesthetic Experience and the Wager
    of Imagination 2
    The Poetics of the Will and a Philosophical
    Anthropology of the Capable Human Being 6
    Summary Outline 9

    1 Philosophical Anthropology, Poetics,
    and the Philosophy of the Will 15
    Poetics and the Philosophy of the Will 16
    Intermediacy, Fallibility, Fault 18
    Finitude and Infinitude 23
    Transcendental Reflection 25
    Metaphor and Metaphysics 29

    2 The Practical Synthesis: Character, Happiness,
    and Respect 42
    Practical Synthesis 43
    Practical Finitude 45
    Happiness 53
    Respect 57

    3 Affective Fragility, Vulnerability, and the Capable
    Human Being 66
    The Restless Heart 67
    Reason and Happiness 70
    Fragility and Fallibility: Having, Power, Worth 74
    viii Contents

    4 The Wager of Imagination 89
    Ideology, Violence, and Power 90
    An Eschatology of Nonviolence 94
    Negative Dialectics and the Principle of Hope 97
    The Temporalization of History 101
    The Force of the Present and the Horizon of
    the Process of Freedom’s Actualization 103

    5 Singularity, Exemplarity, Universality 114
    Aesthetic Experience 114
    Mimesis and Truth 117
    Singularity, Exemplarity, Communicability 121
    Reason, Judgment, and Imagination 126

    6 Toward a Hermeneutics of Liberation 136
    The Idea of Humanity and the Aporia of the
    Oneness of Time 137
    Exemplarity and the Hermeneutics
    of Testimony 142
    The Imperative of Justice 149

    7 Conclusions 160
    Conviction and Belief 163
    Is Freedom Possible? 168
    Hospitality and Justice 173

    Bibliography 185
    Index 193


    Roger W. H. Savage is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, specializing in hermeneutics, aesthetics, and politics. He is the author of Hermeneutics and Music Criticism and Music, Time, and Its Other: Aesthetic Reflections on Finitude, Temporality, and Alterity. He has also edited two books on the work of Paul Ricoeur: Paul Ricoeur in the Age of Hermeneutical Reason: Poetics, Praxis, and Critique and Paul Ricoeur and the Lived Body.