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Paul Ricoeur - His Life and His Work
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"Combines biographical and philosophical essays with a more personal memoir that makes Ricoeur's humane and magnanimous nature abundantly evident. Four revealing interviews, coupled with photographs, and an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources, complete this illuminating study". -- Choice

"Combines biographical and philosophical essays with a more personal memoir that makes Ricoeur's humane and magnanimous nature abundantly evident. Four revealing interviews, coupled with photographs, and an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources, complete this illuminating study".

-- Choice

One of France's most distinguished philosophers, the 83-year-old Ricoeur is the author of such respected books as Fallible Man, The Symbolism of Evil and Time and Narrative, in which he devotes himself to phenomenology, hermeneutics and such basic questions as what we mean when we say, "I will." Reagan's brief book is in four parts: a biographical essay; a memoir of the author's graduate study under Ricoeur in Paris; an essay on his teacher's philosophy that is only for specialists; and interviews with Ricoeur. A philosophy professor at Kansas State University and co-editor of The Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur, Reagan has tried to pack too much into this slim book; the result is that neither Ricoeur's life nor his work come across with real clarity. Reagan reveals that Ricoeur's son Olivier, a homosexual, alcoholic ether-sniffer, killed himself by jumping off a roof, but does little to examine his motivations. Nor does he even mention that the usually mild-mannered Ricoeur sued a French author, Christophe Donner, who dared mention the facts about his son in a recent memoir published in France. Ricoeur is a cagey interview subject‘he even apologizes for being "obscure and cryptic" ‘so finally the most useful parts of this book may prove to be the highly technical and compressed philosophy material, laden with professional jargon. Despite Ricoeur's coy claim that his life has no interest, an in-depth biography would seem called for, to deal with Ricoeur's years as a prisoner of war from 1940-45; his position as a Protestant and eminent Christian philosopher in a Catholic country; and his brave stands during the French Algerian crisis and the student rebellions of the 1960s. (Sept.)

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