Cover image for The just
The just
Ricœur, Paul.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Juste. English
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xxiv, 161 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


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B2430.R553 J8713 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The essays in this collection by the noted French philosopher Paul Ricoeur grew out of a series of invited lectures given in France on the question of the nature of justice and the law at the Institut des Hautes Etudes pour a Justice in Paris. Gathered under the title The Just, the essays represent a sustained reflection on the relation between the concept of the juridical - as embedded in written laws, tribunals, judges and verdicts - and the philosophical concept of right, situated between moral theory and politics. In political philosophy, Ricoeur argues, the question of right is obscured by the haunting presence of historical evil. In a philosophy of right, on the other hand, the leading theme is peace.

Author Notes

Professor of philosophy at the University of Paris and the University of Chicago, Paul Ricoeur has been described as "possibly the only younger philosopher in Europe whose reputation is of the magnitude of that of the old men of Existentialism---Marcel, Jaspers, Heidegger and Sartre . . . ." His work has been characterized as "the most massive accomplishment of any philosopher of Christian faith since the appearance of Gabriel Marcel." A practitioner of the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl mediated by a return to Immanuel Kant---in that things in themselves, though unknowable, are not excluded by bracketing existence but are acknowledged as the necessary conditions for the possibility of human experience---Ricoeur has examined those parts of experience---faulty, fallible, and susceptible to error and evil---that other phenomenologists, interested primarily in the cognitional, have neglected. In this respect he follows in the footsteps of Heidegger and Sartre, but he goes beyond them in his discovery of principles transcending human subjectivity that are amenable to spiritual interpretation. Here Ricoeur steps within the contemporary hermeneutic circle of Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer, on whom he has written. Ricoeur's hermeneutical method, however, has much in common with the methods of biblical exegesis, and in this respect his works should be especially appealing to seminarians and the clergy. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In recent years, following his retirement from the John Nuveen chair at the University of Chicago, Paul Ricoeur has been invited to participate in seminars and colloquia at several important schools involved in the French judicial system, including the Institute for Graduate Studies in Justice and the National School for Magistrates, a training school for public prosecutors and judges. He has also been invited to lecture at the Cour de Cassation, the French Appeals Court. The articles in this collection are the result of these applications of philosophical theory to the concerns of courts in applying the norms of justice to particular cases. In ten articles, Ricoeur discusses the theories of justice of John Rawls, Hannah Arendt, and Ronald Dworkin, to name only three. In the article "Interpretation and/or Argumentation," for example, the author analyzes the role of hermeneutics in the interpretation of laws and the role of argumentation in the process of a court's arriving at a specific legal judgment in an individual case. These articles respond to the question "Is justice being done in our courts, and how do we know?" This is a very important contribution to legal philosophy and should be in the libraries of law schools and anywhere that legal ethics or philosophy is taught or applied. C. E. Reagan; Kansas State University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Who Is the Subject of Rights?p. 1
The Concept of Responsibility: An Essay in Semantic Analysisp. 11
Is a Purely Procedural Theory of Justice Possible? John Rawls's Theory of Justicep. 36
After Rawls's Theory of Justicep. 58
The Plurality of Instances of Justicep. 76
Aesthetic Judgment and Political Judgment: According to Hannah Arendtp. 94
Interpretation and/or Argumentationp. 109
The Act of Judgingp. 127
Sanction, Rehabilitation, Pardonp. 133
Conscience and the Law: The Philosophical Stakesp. 146
Sources of Original Publicationp. 157
Indexp. 159