Book Description

From Publishers Weekly 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. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. Read more From Library Journal Reagan, a longtime student and admirer of Ricoeur, begins with an engaging biographical sketch. Ricoeur's life has not been one of dull academic routine. He spent time in a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, was a target of student demonstrators at Nanterre in 1968, and lost a son to suicide. Reagan next offers a memoir to his friendship with Ricoeur, making clear his mentor's kindness and high scholarly standards. The book proceeds to a synopsis of Ricoeur's thought, including an especially valuable accounts of Oneself as Another. The final section consists of four interviews of Ricoeur by Reagan. A valuable introduction to Ricoeur; highly recommended.?David Gordon, Bowling Green State Univ. OhioCopyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. Read more See all Editorial Reviews