The Unstable Equilibrium. Paul Ricoeur’s Renewal of Philosophical Anthropology

M.J.H. de Leeuw

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The main argument of this study concerns the central relation between anthropology, poetics and ethics. It is the ontological problem – which can easily be summarized by the question “who is this Being for whom being is in question” – that silently binds these sections together. What “we are” does not tell us “what we ought to do or not do” (unless our ideology is socio- or neurobiologically determined); prescriptive rules do not follow from descriptive insights. This makes the relation between anthropology and ethics a precarious one. It is in the poetic response to the aporetics of being that the ethical position can be co-clarified: the good life must be imagined before it can be lived. Here, the biggest challenge lays in the simple counter-assertion that identity, and, thus, narratives and ethics, do not matter because their aporetic status can never be overcome and, therefore, we need to let go of their importance. Ricoeur’s philosophy must be understood as an attempt to fundamentally dismiss this assertion.
Original languageAmerican English
  • Kunneman, H.P., Supervisor, External person
Award date3 Jul 2013
Print ISBNs978-90-9027658-8
Electronic ISBNs978-90-9027658-8
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2013

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