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.
Born in Visalia, California, the son of a salesman, Carroll Pursell currently ranks among the foremost American historians of science and technology. His research and writing has focused on the role of science and technology in shaping national policy in the United States. Pursell was educated at the University of California at Berkeley, receiving a B.A. in 1956 and a Ph.D. in 1961, and at the University of Delaware, where he earned a Master's degree in history in 1958. From 1963 to 1965, he taught history at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Then he was appointed professor of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara, remaining there for more than 20 years. In 1988 he returned to Case Western Reserve University, where he is currently the Adeline Barry Davee Distinguished Professor of History. Pursell has received widespread recognition for his contributions to the history of science and for the quality of his scholarly research. Appointed Visting Research Scholar at the Smithsonian Institution in 1970, he has also served as Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Lehigh University (1974--76) and Research Professor at the University of Wisconsin (1977). A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Pursell has also served as president of the Society of History and Technology (1990--92). In 1991 he was awarded the Leonardo da Vinci medal for his contributions in his field.