Paul Ricoeur

Paul Ricoeur was one of the outstanding French philosophers of the twentieth century and his work has had a profound influence both in Europe and the English-speaking world. His early phenomenological work probed the deepest questions of human freedom and will, but it was his work of the 1960s and after, strongly influenced by hermeneutics, that has had the most enduring impact. This led to a systematic focus on how self-knowledge only comes through our relation to the world, to signs and to others, a perspective which profoundly shaped his later work on textual interpretation and the philosophy of language. His brilliant interpretation of psychoanalysis as a 'hermeneutics of suspicion' in Freud and Philosophy and his powerful critique of structuralism in The Conflict of Interpretations established his reputation as one of the world's leading hermeneutic philosophers. A rare example of a philosopher able to bridge the continental-analytic divide, Ricoeur has been influential in fields ranging from philosophy, theology and literary theory to sociology and anthropology. Polity has published numerous books by Ricoeur including On Psychoanalysis, Hermeneutics and Philosophical Anthropology.