On Stories

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Stories offer us some of the richest and most enduring insights into the human condition and have preoccupied philosophy since Aristotle. On Stories presents in clear and compelling style just why narrative has this power over us and argues that the unnarrated life is not worth living. Drawing on the work of James Joyce, Sigmund Freud's patient 'Dora' and the case of Oscar Schindler, Richard Kearney skilfully illuminates how stories not only entertain us but can determine our lives and personal identities. He also considers nations as stories, including the story of Romulus and Remus in the founding of Rome. Throughout, On Stories stresses that, far from heralding the demise of narrative, the digital era merely opens up new stories.
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Published on
Sep 9, 2002
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Philosophy / General
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Richard Kearney
Contemporary conversations about religion and culture are framed by two reductive definitions of secularity. In one, multiple faiths and nonfaiths coexist free from a dominant belief in God. In the other, we deny the sacred altogether and exclude religion from rational thought and behavior. But is there a third way for those who wish to rediscover the sacred in a skeptical society? What kind of faith, if any, can be proclaimed after the ravages of the Holocaust and the many religion-based terrors since? Richard Kearney explores these questions with a host of philosophers known for their inclusive, forward-thinking work on the intersection of secularism, politics, and religion. An interreligious dialogue that refuses to paper over religious difference, these conversations locate the sacred within secular society and affirm a positive role for religion in human reflection and action. Drawing on his own philosophical formulations, literary analysis, and personal interreligious experiences, Kearney develops through these engagements a basic gesture of hospitality for approaching the question of God. His work facilitates a fresh encounter with our best-known voices in continental philosophy and their views on issues of importance to all spiritually minded individuals and skeptics: how to reconcile God’s goodness with human evil, how to believe in both God and natural science, how to talk about God without indulging in fundamentalist rhetoric, and how to balance God’s sovereignty with God’s love.
Richard Kearney
This important book brings together in one volume a collection of illuminating encounters with some of the most important philosophers of our age-by one of its most incisive and innovative critics.

For more than twenty years, Richard Kearney has been in conversation with leading philosophers, literary theorists, anthropologists, and religious scholars. His gift is eliciting memorably clear statements about their work from thinkers whose writings can often be challenging in their complexity.

Here, he brings together twenty-one originally published extraordinary conversations-his 1984 collection Dialogues: The Phenomenological Heritage, his 1992 Visions of Europe: Conversations on the Legacy and Future of Europe, and his 1995 States of Mind: Dialogues with Contemporary Thinkers. Featured interviewees include Stanislas Breton, Umberto Eco, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Herbert Marcus, George Steiner, Julia Kristeva, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jean-Franois Lyotard. To this classic core, he adds recent interviews, previously unpublished, with Paul Ricoeur, Jean-Luc Marion, Jacques Derrida, and George DumŽzil, as well as six colloquies about his own work.

Wide-ranging and accessible, these interviews provide a fascinating guide to the ideas, concerns, and personalities of thinkers who have shaped modern intellec-tual life. This book will be an essential point of entry for students, teachers, scholars, and anyone seeking to understand contemporary culture.

Part One: Recent Debates
Jacques Derrida: Terror, Religion, and the New Politics
Jean-Luc Marion: The Hermeneutics of Revelation
Paul Ricoeur: (a) On Life Stories (b) On The Crisis of Authority
(c) The Power of the Possible (d) Imagination, Testimony, and Trust
Georges Dum�zil: Myth, Ideology, Sovereignty
Part Two: From Dialogues: The Phenomenological Heritage, 1984
Emmanuel Levinas: Ethics of the Infinite
Herbert Marcuse: The Philosophy of Art and Politics
Paul Ricoeur: (a) The Creativity of Language (b) Myth as the Bearer of Possible Worlds
Stanislas Breton: Being, God, and the Poetics of Relation
Jacques Derrida: Deconstruction and the Other
Part Three: From States of Mind, 1995
Julia Kristeva: Strangers to Ourselves: The Hope of the Singular
Hans Georg Gadamer: Text Matters
Jean-Fran�ois Lyotard: What Is Just?
George Steiner: Culture-The Price You Pay
Paul Ricoeur: Universality and the Power of Difference
Umberto Eco: Chaosmos: The Return to the Middle Ages
Part Four: Colloquies with Richard Kearney
Villanova Colloquy: Against Omnipotence
Athens Colloquy: Between Selves and Others
Halifax Colloquy: Between Being and God
Stony Brook Colloquy: Confronting Imagination
Boston Colloquy: Theorizing the Gift
Dublin Colloquy: Thinking Is Dangerous
Appendix: Philosophy as Dialogue

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