Memory, History, Forgetting

ISBN-10: 0226713423

ISBN-13: 9780226713427

Edition: 2006

Authors: Paul Ricoeur, Kathleen Blamey, David Pellauer

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Why do major historical events such as the Holocaust occupy the forefront of the collective consciousness, while profound moments such as the Armenian genocide, the McCarthy era, and France's role in North Africa stand distantly behind? Is it possible that history "overly remembers" some events at the expense of others? A landmark work in philosophy, Paul Ricoeur's "Memory, History, Forgetting" examines this reciprocal relationship between remembering and forgetting, showing how it affects both the perception of historical experience and the production of historical narrative. "Memory, History, Forgetting", like its title, is divided into three major sections. Ricoeur first takes a phenomenological approach to memory and mnemonical devices. The underlying question here is how a memory of present can be of something absent, the past. The second section addresses recent work by historians by reopening the question of the nature and truth of historical knowledge. Ricoeur explores whether historians, who can write a history of memory, can truly break with all dependence on memory, including memories that resist representation. The third and final section is a profound meditation on the necessity of forgetting as a condition for the possibility of remembering, and whether there can be something like happy forgetting in parallel to happy memory. Throughout the book there are careful and close readings of the texts of Aristotle and Plato, of Descartes and Kant, and of Halbwachs and Pierre Nora. A momentous achievement in the career of one of the most significant philosophers of our age, "Memory, History, Forgetting" provides the crucial link between Ricoeur's "Time and Narrative" and "Oneself as Another" and his recent reflections on ethics and the problems of responsibility and representation. "His success in revealing the internal relations between recalling and forgetting, and how this dynamic becomes problematic in light of events once present but now past, will inspire academic dialogue and response but also holds great appeal to educated general readers in search of both method for and insight from considering the ethical ramifications of modern events. . . . It is indeed a master work, not only in Ricoeur's own vita but also in contemporary European philosophy."--"Library Journal ""Ricoeur writes the best kind of philosophy--critical, economical, and clear."-- "New York Times Book Review "
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Book details

List price: $32.00
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 8/15/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 624
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.50" long x 1.75" tall
Weight: 1.980
Language: English

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.

On Memory and Recollection
Memory and Imagination
Reading Guidelines
The Greek Heritage
Plato: The Present Representation of an Absent Thing
Aristotle: "Memory Is of the Past"A Phenomenological Sketch of Memory
Memories and Images
The Exercise of Memory: Uses and Abuses
Reading Guidelines
The Abuses of Artificial Memory: The Feats of Memorization
The Abuses of Natural Memory: Blocked Memory, Manipulated Memory, Abusively Controlled Memory
The Pathological-Therapeutic Level: Blocked Memory
The Practical Level: Manipulated Memory
The Ethico-Political Level: Obligated Memory
Personal Memory, Collective Memory
Reading Guidelines
The Tradition of Inwardness
The External Gaze: Maurice Halbwachs
Three Subjects of the Attribution of Memories: Ego, Collectives, Close Relations
History, EpistemologyPrelude History: Remedy or Poison?
The Documentary Phase: Archived Memory
Reading Guidelines
Inhabited Space
Historical Time
The ArchiveDocumentary Proof
Reading Guidelines
Promoting the History of Mentalities
Some Advocates of Rigor: Michel Foucault, Michel de Certeau, Norbert Elias
Variations in ScaleFrom the Idea of Mentality to That of Representation
The Scale of Efficacy or of Coerciveness
The Scale of Degrees of Legitimation
The Scale of Nonquantitative Aspects of Social Times
The Dialectic of Representation
The Historian's Representation
Reading Guidelines
Representation and Narration
Representation and Rhetoric
The Historian's Representation and the Prestige of the ImageStanding For
The Historical ConditionPrelude: The Burden of History and the Nonhistorical
The Critical Philosophy of History
Reading Guidelines
"Die Geschichte Selber," "History Itself"
"Our" Modernity
The Historian and the Judge
Interpretation in History
History and Time
Reading Guidelines
Death in History
The Trajectory of the Term Geschichtlichkeit
Historicity and Historiography
Within-Timeness: Being-"in"-Time
Along the Path of the Inauthentic
Within-Timeness and the Dialectic of Memory and History
Memory, Just a Province of History?
Memory, in Charge of History?
The Uncanniness of History
Maurice Halbwachs: Memory Fractured by History
Yerushalmi: "Historiography and Its Discontents"Pierre Nora: Strange Places of Memory
Reading Guidelines
Forgetting and the Effacing of Traces
Forgetting and the Persistence of Traces
The Forgetting of Recollection: Uses and Abuses
Forgetting and Blocked Memory
Forgetting and Manipulated Memory
Commanded Forgetting: Amnesty
Epilogue: Difficult Forgiveness
The Forgiveness Equation
Depth: The Fault
Height: Forgiveness
The Odyssey of the Spirit of Forgiveness: The Passage through Institutions
Criminal Guilt and the Imprescriptible
Political Guilt
Moral Guilt
The Odyssey of the Spirit of Forgiveness: The Stage of Exchange
The Economy of the GiftGift and Forgiveness
The Return to the Self
Forgiving and Promising
Unbinding the Agent from the Act
Looking Back over an Itinerary: Recapitulation
Happy Memory
Unhappy History?
Forgiveness and Forgetting
Works Cited
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