17th Annual Society for Ricoeur Studies Conference (UPDATED)

October 13, 2023 - October 15, 2023
Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Ontario

59 St. George Street
Toronto M5S 2E6

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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This event is available both online and in-person


Stephanie Arel
Fordham University


Institute for Christian Studies At Toronto, Canada
Concordia College

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The Society for Ricoeur Studies is pleased to announce its annual conference, which will be hosted by the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Ontario (https://www.icscanada.edu). ICS is an affiliated member institution of the Toronto School of Theology (https://www.tst.edu).

We welcome submissions that address the conference theme of “Ricoeur in Practice” and any aspect of the work of Paul Ricoeur.

CONFERENCE THEME: Ricoeur in Practice

In “On Interpretation” (1983), Ricoeur writes that he belongs to a philosophical tradition that “stands in the line of a reflexive philosophy; it remains within the sphere of Husserlian phenomenology; it strives to be a hermeneutical variation of this phenomenology.” In Oneself as Another, he asserts that this philosophy will not be a “first philosophy” but a “second philosophy” that gives priority to “practical philosophy,” understood in its broadest sense. This “second philosophy” is constituted through a reflexive act of phenomenological interpretation on the human person striving to be oneself in and through an analogical unity of various human capacities (speaking, acting, narrating, imputing moral and ethical responsibility) and suffering. Human being manifests itself in and through practical engagement with the world in its various aspects, including embodied existence, other persons, and institutions. In this way, Ricoeur’s later hermeneutical philosophy circles back to the focus of his early existential phenomenology of the human person as the fragile reciprocity of freedom and nature, or the voluntary and the involuntary. Ricoeur consistently ties his hermeneutical reflections on understanding, explanation, imagination, and language (discourse, texts, metaphor, narrative, translation, etc.) to application and practical wisdom (phronesis). Simply put, for Ricoeur human existence is in the first place a practice. We come to understand lived existence through encountering concrete situations.

This means that the scope of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics is wide. We invite proposals that explore all dimensions of this theme of hermeneutics as tied to practical philosophy in which understanding is realized in and through real world application to concrete situations and practices. The goal of hermeneutics is one of seeking to understand, which includes:

  • the concerns of others
  • the role of narratives in fashioning and relating values and experience
  • the role of translation between individuals; between actors in a field; across fields
  • what is required in communicating with and listening to others
  • how to negotiate across values
  • how to recognize and address what is not being considered or what has not been considered in the past
  • the importance of dialogue
  • the importance of recognition
  • how to question assumptions
  • how to facilitate dialogue that can lead to constructive action
  • how to enhance human activity, including meaningful work, in order to increase human capability and the opportunity to flourish

We invite proposals that explore Ricoeur’s hermeneutics in relation to specific applied areas of practice in real life, such as: architecture, intersectionality, anti-oppression, education, economics, environmental concerns, digital technology, digital humanities, law, feminist philosophy, literature and literary theory, music, art, narrative medicine, nursing, medical humanities, biomedical ethics, translation, politics, trauma studies, peacebuilding, social media, etc. For more ideas, see the Hermeneutics in Real Life Project Website (https://www.hinrl.org) and resources page (https://www.hinrl.org/resources).

We also invite topics on any aspect of the work of Paul Ricoeur. Potential topics include (but are not limited to) justice, responsibility, politics, religion, biblical hermeneutics, theology, interreligious dialogue, imagination, metaphor, and aesthetics. We welcome submissions that address the influence of Ricoeur’s thought inside and outside of philosophy, in all those disciplines where his work has application. We particularly welcome proposals that relate Ricoeur’s thought to current issues and themes, such as the healthcare crisis, ecological challenges or the challenges of democracy.

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October 6, 2023, 11:00pm EST

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