Paul Ricœur

French philosopher

Paul Ricœur (1913 – 2005) was a French philosopher best known for combining phenomenological description with hermeneutics.


  • If we go back to the intention [Marx, Nietzsche and Freud] had in common, we find in it the decision to look upon the whole of consciousness primarily as "false" consciousness.
    • Freud and Philosophy (1970), p. 33

Quotes about Paul RicoeurEdit

  • Paul Ricœur speaks of the theologian as a hermeneut, whose task is to interpret the multivalent, rich metaphors arising from the symbolic bases of tradition so that the symbols may 'speak' once again to our existential situation.
    • Anne Hunt Overzee, "The body divine: the symbol of the body in the works of Teilhard de Chardin and Rāmānuja," Cambridge Studies in Religious Traditions, Cambridge University Press, p. 4.
  • The "hermeneutics of suspicion" is a phrase coined by Paul Ricoeur to capture a common spirit that pervades the writings of Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche. In spite of their obvious differences, he argued, these thinkers jointly constitute a "school of suspicion." That is to say, they share a commitment to unmasking "the lies and illusions of consciousness;" they are the architects of a distinctively modern style of interpretation that circumvents obvious or self-evident meanings in order to draw out less visible and less flattering truths (Ricoeur 356). Ricoeur’s term has sustained an energetic after-life within religious studies, as well as in philosophy, intellectual history, and related fields[.]

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