Digital Ricœur

Photograph of Paul Ricœur

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The Digital Ricœur website provides access to the work of the French philosopher Paul Ricœur (1913–2005). At present, the material available offers writings by Ricœur. The aim over time is also to include writings on Ricœur. Our work has been supported by the Society for Ricœur Studies, and we are pleased to work in partnership with the Fonds Ricœur.

Along with Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer, Ricœur was one of the primary 20th-century exponents of hermeneutics—the theory of interpretation. He is also well known for his development (and critique) of phenomenology, principally inaugurated by Edmund Husserl. Ricœur additionally gained attention for his work on Freud (Freud and Philosophy) and on religious symbolism (The Symbolism of Evil). His writings in fact addressed a number of domains, including aesthetics, capability and vulnerability, ethics, history, imagination, justice, law, narrative, political theory, psychology and psychoanalysis, religion, and selfhood. Commentators on his work have extended his theories beyond these topics to issues ranging from globalism to musicology to cultural development to environmental ethics.

Given the volume of Ricœur’s writings, it can often be difficult to locate or obtain access to his writings on a particular topic. The Digital Ricœur site provides access to all of his books and articles in English, and the site is in the process of uploading all of his writings in his native French. His work as written in or translated into other languages will be available in the future as the Digital Ricœur project proceeds.

Due to copyright restrictions, the site cannot provide access to full texts. Instead, the site permits text searches that will bring up short contextual results of search terms, similar to the snippets provided on Google Books. (These searches provide legal “fair use.”) The site hopes to provide full text access to sources as agreements with publishers and Ricœur’s literary executors permit.

The site also provides guides that permit more sophisticated computerized searches of Ricœur’s work without requiring user knowledge of the search logic. Examples of digital analysis offered on the site include demonstration of the prevalence or relative frequency of words, phrases, or words in proximity (Word Clouds; Terms; Trends); assessments of Ricœur’s vocabulary in different time periods (Most Frequent Words Over Time); and evaluation of changes in the associations of Ricœur’s vocabulary over time (Word Associations in Context).

The site is also undertaking the compilation of a searchable bibliography of Ricœur’s work that over time will include secondary sources.

For more details about our plans, see: George H. Taylor and Fernando Nascimento, “Digital Ricœur,” Études Ricœuriennes / Ricœur Studies 7:2 (2016), 124–145, doi:10.5195/errs.2016.383 (open access).

Digital Ricœur Team