Thinking the Flesh with Paul Ricoeur

  • Richard KearneyEmail author
Part of the Contributions to Hermeneutics book series (CONT HERMEN, volume 2)


Paul Ricoeur developed a phenomenology of flesh inspired by Husserl in the 1950s. But while this early phenomenology was developing strongly in the direction of a diagnostics of carnal signification—in tandem with Merleau-Ponty—once Ricoeur took the so-called “linguistic turn” in the 1960s he departed from this seminal phenomenology in order to concentrate more exclusively on a hermeneutics of the text. There are, however, some fascinating reflections in Ricoeur’s final writings which attempt to reanimate a dialogue between his initial phenomenology of the flesh and later hermeneutics of language. I will take a look at these by way of suggesting new directions for a carnal hermeneutics—directions which might bring together the rich insights of a philosophy of embodiment (developed with Husserl and Merleau-Ponty) and a philosophy of interpretation (deriving from Heidegger and Gadamer).


Paul Ricoeur Phenomenology Hermeneutics Body Flesh 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA

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