BEYOND the complexities of philosophy, the human side of the late French philosopher Paul Ricoeur served as the central discussion of an international conference co-presented by UST and Ateneo de Manila University last Nov. 21-23.

Leovino Garcia, former dean of the Ateneo School of Humanities, delivered a plenary speech on Ricoeur’s two early and untranslated works on philosophy and human beings.

Garcia extended his discussion to the role of philosophers in analyzing Ricoeur’s unpublished 1936 essay “The Risk.” In the essay, Ricoeur said philosophers must use their experience to share their knowledge and guide the people toward becoming more human.

“He’s a very ecumenical philosopher. He’s famous for the interpretation of texts, so he would be important to the people of literature, history, human sciences and religious study,” Garcia said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

Garcia, also a philosophy professor at the UST Graduate School, said philosophers have a distinct duty of leaving an impact on society and history, in contrast to the tendency of most philosophers to isolate themselves from society.

Garcia also discussed Ricoeur’s 1948 work with existentialists Karl Jaspers and Gabriel Marcel, which linked transcendence and the meaning of human freedom to the essence of being human.

The former Ateneo dean used the French philosopher’s 1950 work titled, “Freedom and Nature: The Voluntary and the Involuntary,” in raising hope within humanity despite the presence of evil and the lack of faith in God.

Garcia hopes his plenary speech would spark interest on Ricoeur, especially among the youth. “[Ricoeur is] known in the [field] of philosophy, but [not yet] outside its circle,” he said.

Theses turn into businesses

Meanwhile, Thomasians Gian Carla Agbisit and Elaine Lazaro presented papers in the panel sessions.

Agbisit, a faculty member at Department of Philosophy, talked about how language leaves an impact on the memories of individuals and on their futures, referencing Ricoeur’s take on symbolization and language as a tool for human connection.

Lazaro, a student of the UST Graduate School who also represented De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, tackled Ricoeur’s writings on hermeneutics and human essence.

Ricoeur, who is regarded as one of the most important 21st-century philosophers, influenced modern-day philosophers including Jacques Derrida, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Richard Kearney, John Caputo, Don Ihde and Michel Henry. This year marks the philosopher’s 10th death anniversary. R.A.D.R. Narra


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.