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Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication

With a Foreword by Richard J. Bernstein and an Afterword by John Durham Peters

Edited By Jason Hannan

Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication is the first book to draw systematic attention to the theme of communication in twentieth-century academic philosophy. It covers a broad range of philosophical perspectives on communication, including those from analytic philosophy, pragmatism, critical theory, phenomenology, hermeneutics, feminism, psychoanalysis, systems theory, and more. What emerges is a vital, long-neglected story about the theme of communication in late modern academic philosophy. Each chapter features a «profile» of a particular philosophical figure, with a brief intellectual biography, an overview of that figure’s contribution to communication theory, and a critical assessment of the significance of that contribution. The clear and accessible organization of the volume makes it ideal for courses in both philosophy and communication studies.

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18 Paul Ricoeur: A Philosophy of Communicative Praxis FADOUA LOUDIY 437

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18 Paul Ricoeur A Philosophy of Communicative Praxis FADOUA LOUDIY _____________________________________ Paul Ricoeur was an engaged intellectual (or an intellectuel engagé) for whom philosophy was a practical and public discipline that needed to confront and find answers to the questions of the day.1 Like many of his contemporaries (Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, Michel Dufrenne, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and others) Ricoeur’s intellectual journey began in a time of war.2 Without engaging in speculation about what inspired him to become a philosopher, suffice to say that war, violence, and horror provided the context for his intellectual probing of the capabilities of humankind, the relationship between persons in institutional life, and other pressing philosophical topics of his long-lived intellectual career. Mark Muldoon points out that “owing to the fact that war affected both his childhood and adult life, it is not unlikely that the questions of politics and ethics would find a central place in Ricoeur’s overall philosophical anthropology of the acting and suffering of the human subject.”3 Ricoeur’s life was one of struggle from the start. Born in 1913 in Valence, France, and orphaned at age two (after his fa- ther was killed in combat), Ricoeur became a “pupil of the nation,” which was the designation given to children of victims of World War I. His mother had died a few months earlier. His grandparents and aunt raised him and his sister in a pious Protestant household. His religious upbringing left an im- pression and often caused him to justify his philosophical positions...

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