This book originates in the Terry Lectures given at Yale University in the autumn of 1961. According to the author, this book deals with Freud and not with psychoanalysis. Secondly, this book is one not of psychology but of philosophy. The problem concerns here is the texture or structure of Freudian discourse. First, it is an epistemological problem: What is interpretation in psychoanalysis. and how is the interpretation of the signs of man interrelated with the economic explanation that claims to get at the root of desire? Second, it is a problem of reflective philosophy: What new self-understanding comes out of this interpretation of culture exclude all other? If not, what is the rule of thought by which it can be coordinated with other interpretations without falling into eclecticism? Book II, the "Reading of Freud," conducted as rigorously as possible, has been kept separate from Book III, the "Philosophical Interpretation". Thus the reader may treat the "Analytic" of Book II as a separate and self-sufficient work.
About the Author(s)
Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005), a French philosopher, is best known for combining phenomenological description with hermeneutic interpretation. Ricoeur taught at the University of Strasbourg 1948-56. In 1950 he received his doctorate and soon acquired a reputation as an expert on phenomenology, whose popularity in France had begun during the 1930s. In 1956 Ricoeur took up a position at the Sorbonne as the Chair of General Philosophy. While at the Sorbonne, he wrote Fallible Man and The Symbolism of Evil published in 1960, and Freud and Philosophy: Essays on Interpretation published in 1965. Ricoeur taught briefly at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, before taking a position at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, where he taught 1970-85. Thus Ricoeur became one of the few intellectuals well acquainted with the three major intellectual scenes: French, German, and Anglo-American. This culminated in his The Rule of Metaphor: Multi-disciplinary Studies of the Creation of Meaning of Language published in 1975 and the three-volume Time and Narrative published in 1984, 1985, and 1988. Ricoeur gave the Gifford lectures in 1985-86, published in 1992 as Oneself as Another. On November, 2004, he was awarded with the 2nd John W. Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Human Sciences (shared with Jaroslav Pelikan). Paul Ricoeur died in his house of natural causes on May 20, 2005.