This introduction to the special issue on ‘Ricoeur and the ethics of care’ is not a standard editorial. It provides not only an explanation of the central questions and a first impression of the articles, but also a critical discussion of them by an expert in the field of care ethics, Joan Tronto. After explaining the reasons to bring Ricoeur into dialogue with the ethics of care, and analyzing how the four articles of this special issue shape this dialogue, the (...) authors give the floor to Tronto. She focuses on the central issue at stake: what may be the value of a more abstract, conceptual approach for the ethics of care as a radically practice-oriented way of thinking? She argues that the four contributions too easily frame this value in terms of Ricoeur’s relational anthropology. Instead she points out that if the ethics of care is a kind of practice, it makes sense to think of such practices as necessarily building upon one another, expanding constantly the context and relationships upon which practices are built. In the final section the authors respond to Tronto’s framing of ‘practices all the way up’ by arguing that this approach need not be at odds with one inspired by Ricoeur’s conceptual thinking. Rather the two can be seen as different movements—upwards and downwards—that both contribute constructively to the shaping of the important intermediary zone between the practices and the abstract ideals. (shrink)
Introduction -- Ricœr's project of a philosophical approach to evil via symbols -- Kant's radical evil: an ethical approach to evil -- Evil as foundering: Karl Jaspers' tragic view of evil -- Karl Barth's notion of das Nichtige and the problem of knowing evil -- The end of evil.
Starting point of this article is a tension perceived in postsecular reassessments of religion between a new openness to religion’s meaning and importance and a negative motivation, due to religion’s violent presence. These negative conditions may hinder assessing religion in its fullness and specific character. Further reflection on the right attitude to study religion and a way out of this tension is given by analyzing Paul Ricoeur philosophical approach to religion in The Symbolism of Evil. A detailed investigation of Ricoeur’s (...) text is necessary to find out why he, as a philosopher, turns to religious language for reflecting on what he calls ‘the reality of evil’. The outcome of this study provides a critical perspective for discussing current reassessments of religion, as well as recent debates on the use of the concept of evil. This discussion will focus on the importance of approaching religion as dealing with fundamental existential questions, including when the topic of evil is concerned. Such a deliberate and positive approach to religion does not exclude criticism. A constructive approach to religion like Ricoeur’s seems necessary to really make sense of the ‘postsecular’ perspective as bridging the gap between religious and secular approaches. (shrink)
Current debates on ‘the postsecular’ focus on the alleged new visibility of religion in the public sphere. They overcome earlier neglect or indifference toward religion by acknowledging its importance and cast doubt on traditional binaries between ‘secular’ and ‘religious’. How should systematic theology take up the challenge of these debates? Is ‘the postsecular’ a chance to reconsider religion beyond modernist critiques or should one be critical of too easy celebrations of ‘the return of religion’? As an introduction to a special (...) issue on this theme, this article argues that theology should take it as a chance for new dialogues with unexpected allies, opponents, and critics. This calls for an attitude of openness and a willingness to think anew, without losing one’s roots in a specific orientation. Theology’s contribution can be rethinking core notions from the theory of religions, asking for the specific perspective that religion may introduce and the constructive reinterpretation of – partly forgotten – symbols of religions. After discussing the state of the art in debates on ‘the postsecular’ in the first article, the other contributions of this special issue take up these theological tasks in dialogue with thinkers like Richard Kearney, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Paul Ricoeur. (shrink)
This volume addresses issues of moral pluralism and polarization by drawing attention to the transcendent character of the good. It probes the history of Christian theology and moral philosophy to investigate the value of this idea and then relates it to contemporary moral issues. The good is transcendent in that it goes beyond concrete goods, things, acts, or individual preferences. It functions as the pole of a compass that helps orient our moral life. This volume explores the critical tension between (...) the transcendent good and its concrete embodiments in the world through concepts like conscience, natural and divine law, virtue, and grace. The chapters are divided into three parts. Part 1 discusses metaphysical issues like the realist nature and the unity of the good in relation to philosophical, naturalist, and theological approaches from Augustine to Iris Murdoch. The chapters in Part 2 explore issues about knowing the transcendent good and doing good, exemplified in the delicate balance between divine command and human virtuousness. Early Protestant theological views prove to be excellent interlocutors for this reflection. Finally, Part 3 focuses on how transcendence is at stake in two heavily debated moral issues of today: euthanasia and the family. The Transcendent Character of the Good will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in theological ethics, moral philosophy, and the history of ethics. (shrink)
In this article I reconsider Ricoeur’s early philosophical anthropology in Fallible Man by probing its force in a current discussion on anthropology in the ethics of care. This discussion shows similarities with the intentions behind Ricoeur’s project. They are both dissatisfied with existing philosophical conceptions of human beings, in particular with their objectifying and fixing character. However, the ethics of care is a practice oriented approach while Ricoeur’s is an abstract philosophical one. In this article I will examine whether Ricoeur’s (...) philosophical approach may be of value for such a practical approach. For this purpose I analyse three aspects of Ricoeur’s approach that seem to be akin to the ethics of care: his ‘passion for the possible’ that inspires a critique of objectification; his methodological reflections that highlight the relation between philosophy and the pre-philosophical; and fragility as central anthropological category. Taking into account these aspects will give rise to the critical question of whether the anthropology in the ‘weak’ sense in which it is present in the ethics of care is able to account for the risk of objectification. Discovering the importance of this criticism reveals the relevance and topical interest of Ricoeur’s approach also for current practice-oriented philosophical reflection. (shrink)