Ricoeur on ‘Humanisme et terreur’: The Case for the Prophet

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    Abstract

    Ricoeur’s thought bears a number of marks from his reading of the work of Merleau-Ponty. In this article, I argue that this also accounts for the nature of his political thought. I bring Ricoeur’s reviews of Humanisme et terreur (1947) to light in order to show how his confrontation with Merleau-Ponty marked an important turning point in his political thought. Firstly, I show that Merleau-Ponty’s defense of Marxism provoked Ricoeur to reflect upon its intrinsic pathology, and how this marked a significant change in Ricoeur’s political position, namely, from Marxism to personalist socialism. Secondly, I explain how Ricoeur’s reading of Humanisme et terreur gave rise to a preliminary expression of ideas that would later become lasting and essential concepts of his political philosophy. More specifically, the pathology of Marxism would later become embedded in his theory of the political paradox and the concept of the prophet lived on in his reflections on civic responsibility.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)433-448
    JournalChiasmi International
    Volume18
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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