• Ricoeur placed a great deal of importance upon text and the interpretation of text. Bell accepts this by virtue of his extended analysis of the story of Babel, and I hope to offer ways of extending and developing Bell’s arguments to incorporate the ethical demands that Ricoeur placed upon text, upon our interpretation of text and upon action as a form of readable text. This will not include a commentary on discourse analysis, which I am not qualified to give. Ricoeur differed from the structural…Read more
  • In May 1968 there was a strong sense of left-wing camaraderie that drew many French university students into collaboration with the workers’ unions to rise up against de Gaulle’s government. It is highly unlikely that British campuses could be gripped by these values of solidarity and shared agency in a common cause: what can that tell us about Britain? In Britain there are assumptions on the part of many young adults that we are free, equal and fraternal. The parallel digital world that they in…Read more
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    Reconstructive hermeneutical philosophy: Return ticket to the human condition
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 29 (6): 703-727. 2003.
    Making meaning out of life requires effort, sustained thought and action. It can be difficult to reassert our responsibility for solving real life problems from within social science research or current trends, such as extremely deconstructivist text, and postmodernism in its cheerfully nihilistic guise. Hermeneutical philosophy, of the Ricoeurian reconstructive mode, rehabilitates text as a powerful device for influencing others and offers us courage to proceed with the human project by develop…Read more
  •  6
    Plotinus developed a metaphorical approach to language that allowed him to offer a transcendent vision of God, a paradox that made clear how ineffably and incontrovertibly unclear God is – as is our relationship with Him. Ricoeur bridged the centuries by working intensively upon Plotinus in the 1950s-70s. He was seeking a philosophy of negation to help him understand the ways in which modern humans define themselves by lack, loss and longing and asked himself: ‘what is not-ness?’ Eventually Rico…Read more
  •  8
    Ricoeur’s Translation Model as a Mutual Labour of Understanding
    Theory, Culture and Society 27 (5): 69-85. 2010.
    Ricoeur has written about translation as an ethical paradigm. Translation from one language to another, and within one’s own language, provides both a metaphor and a real mechanism for explaining oneself to the other. Attempting and failing to achieve symmetry between two languages is a manifestation of the asymmetry inherent in human relationships. If actively pursued, translation can show us how to forgive other people for being different from us and thus serves as a paradigm for tolerance. In…Read more
  •  2
    Introduction – On the Challenge of Migration: Critical Hermeneutical Perspectives
    with Gonçalo Marcelo
    Critical Hermeneutics 2 (1). 2018.
    At first glance, it could seem slightly out of place to dedicate an issue of a newly founded journal dedicated to hermeneutics – albeit to a critical strand of hermeneutics – to a topic such as migration, forced displacements or refugees. Indeed, for the lay reader, is not hermeneutics, at least methodologically, primarily concerned with the interpretation of texts? Let us concede, still at this first, naïve level, that such an approach might indeed look strange. But allow us to wager that it mi…Read more
  •  3
    The writing of Iris Murdoch has long been of interest to both literature enthusiasts and students of philosophy. The years Murdoch spent studying philosophy at Oxford and Cambridge left an indelible imprint on her work. The essays in this book address both Murdoch’s philosophy and writing in the context of Continental philosophy and postmodern fiction. Many of the twelve essays resist the prevailing critical orthodoxies, introducing instead new theories with which to approach one of Britain’s mo…Read more
  •  14
    Being a Stranger by Paul Ricoeur
    Theory, Culture and Society 27 (5): 37-48. 2010.
    We distinguish between citizens of a state and strangers in a categorical way that seems clear and has the force of law behind it. In fact nationality is a highly contested phenomenon and one that is desired by many who are considered to be aliens or strangers. They range from guest-workers, to immigrants, to asylum seekers and they are often viewed with deep suspicion, even fear. The Kantian injunction to be hospitable to others is not being heeded, but should be the major consideration in any …Read more