2018-2020: Finitude and Meaning.

Phenomenological Perspectives on History in the Light of the Paul Ricoeur Jan Patocka Relationship.

Project Development


May 2018 — September 2020

During May 2018–April 2020 (period extended to September 2020), within the research project PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2016-2224, financed by the Ministry of Research and Innovation (CNCS-UEFISCDI), titled “Finitude and Meaning. Phenomenological Perspectives on History in the Light of the Paul Ricœur–Jan Patočka Relationship”, headed by PhD Paul MARINESCU, the following research results were obtained:

I) Articles, Books & Translations

1/ Ovidiu STANCIU, “La grande guerre comme événement cosmique. Jan Patocka et l’expérience du sacrifice”, Revue philosophique de la France et de l’étranger, 2018/4, Tome 143, pp. 507–524 (ISI Thomson indexed) (ISSN : 0035-3833).

Abstract: Jan Patočka’s interpretation of World War I in his Heretical Essays in the Philosophy of History, drawing on Heidegger’s historial questioning, nonetheless points to the limits of the Heideggerian perspective and proposes its radicalization, thereby revealing the solidarity between technology and war. Within the Patočkian perspective, which relies on Jünger’s and Teilhard de Chardin’s wartime writings, historial thinking and frontline narratives are mutually enlightening: the grasp of World War I as the “culmination of the reign of force” constitutes the necessary backdrop against which some experiences caused by the frontline can become visible, most notably the experience of sacrifice. Frontline experience contains the seed of an upheaval, of a “colossal and unparalleled metanoein,” which is the only way to weaken the foundations of the system that led to war and to lead the way towards a “true peace.”

2/ Ovidiu STANCIU, “Nature et monde naturel dans la pensée de Jan Patocka”, ALTER. Revue de Phénoménologie, no. 26, 2018, pp. 47–64 (ERIH indexed) (ISSN: 2558-7927).

 Abstract: My paper explores the relation between natural world and nature in Jan Patocka’s philosophy drawing essentially on his developments in his 1967 essay “Natural world and phenomenology” while also gathering insights from his Heretical Essays on the Philosophy of History. The question I discuss is whether Patocka’s phenomenology provides us with the conceptual tools necessary to operate a description of the way in which nature manifests itself within a historical life-world. Thus, I am exploring a certain number of phenomena which attest the (exceeding) presence of nature within a historical lifeworld, advancing the hypothesis that the finitude of any historical life-world becomes manifest inasmuch as it cannot completely capture the natural dimension of which it rests.

3/ Ovidiu STANCIU, “xxx”, paper submitted to XXX (ISI Thomson indexed).

4/ Mădălina GUZUN, “L’éthique de l’amour en tant que traduction de l’histoire et de la finitude. Un essai à partir de Paul Ricoeur”, Critical Hermeneutics. Biannual International Journal of Philosophy, Vol 3, No 2 (2019), pp. 224-244 (ISSN: 2533-1825).

Abstract: Could an ethical reasoning give an answer to the crisis of historicity? The scope of the present article is to address the question of ethics along with Paul Ricœur, by analyzing the relation between love and justice and by drawing a parallel between this relation and the way in which Jacques Derrida defines translation. Through the Ricœurien description of love as Christian love of enemies and through the description of justice as distributive justice, we show that love corresponds to an anhistorical dimension, which transgresses our facticity, while justice belongs to facticity, finitude and historicity. Their conflict is overcome by Ricœur, who shows that the two are reciprocally dependent. Their relation is nonetheless marked by an asymmetry which does not allows us to consider it as a mere dialectic. Along with Jacques Derrida, we may conceive this relation as a translation and we may thus hermeneutically reconsider the nature of translation itself. This approach sheds a new light both on the Ricœurien relation between love and justice and on the question of historicity.

5/ Mădălina GUZUN, “Aletheia: la vérité des traductions philosophiques en tant que traduction de la vérité: À la rencontre de Martin Heidegger, Paul Ricœur et Antoine Berman”, Labyrinth: An International Journal for Philosophy, Value Theory and Sociocultural Hermeneutics 22 (1), pp. 39 – 60 (ERIH Plus indexed) (ISSN: 2410-4817).

Abstract: The article analyzes the specificity of philosophical translations insofar as they generate a new meaning and present themselves as originals that must be retranslated. This goes against Ricœur’s conception of translation as a creation of comparable terms. We will show that philosophical translation consists in the creation of an incomparable term, which cannot be measured in terms of equivalence, adequacy or fidelity. All these terms correspond to a notion of truth understood as adequacy, therefore we operate a deconstruction of aletheia, the Greek concept for “truth”, in order to show that what we hold today to be the truth of translation has been the result of a translation. Through Heidegger’s reading of aletheia and through Berman’s account of the terms that name translation in Europe, we reinterpret the Roman philosophical translations as examples of traduction and we show, in the end, that by retranslating aletheia, the rules for the practice of translation change, allowing the latter to be guided by an ethical approach towards the otherness rather than by righteous fidelity and adequacy.

6/ Mădălina GUZUN, “xxx”, paper submitted to XXX (ISI Thomson indexed), revisions required.

7/ Paul MARINESCU, “L’énigme du passé”. Vers les fondements du rapport entre l’histoire et la psychanalyse”, Études Ricoeuriennes / Ricoeur Studies, Vol 10, No 2 (2019), pp. 70-87 (DOAJ, AERES indexed) (ISSN 2156-7808).

Abstract: This article aims to address, by means of a two-step analysis, the foundations of the relationship between history and psychoanalysis as “disciplinary practices” that deal with the past. In the first step, I examine the different relationships between history and psychoanalysis but also the uses of psychoanalysis in historical approaches. My goal here is to situate the context and the guiding questions. As a second step, I try to show that Ricœur puts forward, in his book Memory, History, Forgetting, a major thesis regarding the foundations of the relationship between psychoanalysis and the hermeneutics of history. By means of the phenomenology of wounded memory, he identifies a fundamental structure of collective existence that provides the basis of this relationship. Finally, I seek to determine the scope of this structure, which takes the form of an originary trauma affecting the collective existence, by drawing an analogy with the psychoanalytic concept of afterwardsness.

8/ Paul MARINESCU, “xxx”, paper submitted to XXX (ISI Thomson indexed).

9/ Paul MARINESCU, “xxx”, paper in preparation, to be submitted to XXX (ERIH Plus indexed).

10/ Paul MARINESCU & Ovidiu STANCIU (Eds.), Finitude and Meaning. Essays on Paul Ricoeur’ and Jan Patocka’ Views on History. Bucharest: Zeta Books (under contract) (ISBN978-606-697-112-6).

Abstract: Phenomenology has constantly dealt with history. Over a century and more, phenomenology has not only undergone a “historical turn” under the influence of Heidegger and his followers, but it has also faced the deep crisis of history brought up by the great disasters of the two World Wars, that altered the very manner of comprehending the historical experience. This change of topic within the field of phenomenology is followed by methodological variations: in order to capture the historical condition of the human existence, phenomenology employs different “conceptual tools” that clarify the structure and dynamics of the historical meaning, such as the destruction, the historical hermeneutics, the destinal thinking, etc. Many of these issues, methodological inflections and new thematizations, which clearly prove phenomenology’s concern for understanding the meaning(s) of history, are due to Paul Ricœur and Jan Patočka’s thought. Therefore, this book aims to open new directions in the understanding of history as a phenomenon and an experience, by taking as a starting point Ricœur and Patočka’s theories on this topic. It brings together essays by leading scholars, in which they engage with the legacy of Ricœur and Patočka’s phenomenology of history and provide unique insights into this field. The expert contributors are: Renauld Barbaras, Jeffrey Andrew Barash, Roger W. H. Savage, Vishnu Spaak, Esteban Lythgoe, Roberto Terzi, Chiara Pesaresi, Ovidiu Stanciu, Paul Marinescu.

11/ Paul MARINESCU, “Enclosed in Possibility: The Historical Condition in Ricoeur”, in Paul MARINESCU & Ovidiu STANCIU (Eds.), Finitude and Meaning. Essays on Paul Ricoeur’ and Jan Patocka’ Views on History. Bucharest: Zeta Books (under contract) (ISBN978-606-697-112-6).

Abstract: Starting from Ricoeur’s definition of the historical condition as the “realm of existence placed under the sign of a past as being no longer and having been” (Memory, History, Forgetting), I examine the meanings of this concept and the amplitude of the hermeneutics of history supported by it. I do this by comparing this notion with a synonymous one, namely historicity, emphasizing the equivoque accompanying the latter and the way it was assumed or criticized by various schools of thought, throughout the 20th century. Following this line of question, I show how Ricoeur’s interpretation of the historical being differs from Dilthey, Heidegger or Gadamer’s views, by the importance he allots to the dimension of the possible.

12/ Ovidiu STANCIU, “The movement of history and the truth of the myth. The double orientation of Patocka’s philosophy of history”, in Paul MARINESCU & Ovidiu STANCIU (Eds.), Finitude and Meaning. Essays on Paul Ricoeur‘ and Jan Patocka’ Views on History. Bucharest: Zeta Books (under contract) (ISBN978-606-697-112-6).

Abstract: My paper aims at exploring the function ascribed to the concept of “myth” within the works of Jan Patocka and shows how the analysis of the myth is embedded in a broader discussion where “historicity” functions as a counter-concept. I begin by laying out the reasons which led Jan Patocka to take up the task of providing a philosophical analysis of the myth. Secondly, I unpack the claim according to which there is a peculiar and authentic “truth of the myth”, irreducible to its etiological function and exceeding any allegorical interpretation. Finally, I show that questioning the truth of the myth leads not only do unfold a philosophical hermeneutics, but also to exhibit the different layers of experience on which this truth is based. Thus, the inquiry into the relations between the truth of the myth and historicity opens up a new path for phenomenology.

13/ Paul MARINESCU & Ovidiu Stanciu, “Introduction (by Editors). A philosophical visit to Prague”, in Paul MARINESCU & Ovidiu STANCIU (Eds.), Finitude and Meaning. Essays on Paul Ricoeur’ and Jan Patocka’ Views on History. Bucharest: Zeta Books (under contract) (ISBN978-606-697-112-6).

14/ Paul MARINESCU, Perspectives on the Historical Condition: Paul Ricoeur’s Hermeneutics of History, Bucharest: Zetabooks (under contract) (ISBN: 978-606-697-039-6).

Abstract: This book investigates the importance of Ricœur’s hermeneutics of history and the role it plays in the recent philosophical reflections and debates on the past and its relationship to the present. The studies included here are primarily focused on Ricœur’s constant reluctance towards a complete and totalizing understanding of the meaning of history and his interest in addressing instead issues related to the epistemology of history. The goal of these investigations is to show that Ricœur relentlessly seeks—throughout his main works on history, History and Truth (1955), Time and Narrative (1983-85), Memory, History, Forgetting (2000)—to reopen questions related to the epistemology of historiographical operations, while taking care to place his inquiry within the horizon of our existential finitude. But the author also considers the connections between the hermeneutics of history and the theory of translation, as they were elaborated upon, outlined, even suggested by Ricœur. The ultimate objective is thus to establish whether the “translation of the past” is possible and if this phenomenon could lay the basis for the hermeneutics of history.

15/ Mădălina GUZUN: Translation from French into Romanian: Paul Ricoeur, O autobiografie intelectuală [Réflexion faite. Autobiographie intellectuelle], Bucharest: Spandugino Publishing House (under contract).

II) Communications at international conferences with peer-review system

III) Communications at national colloquium

  • Paul MARINESCU: „De la travaliul memoriei la travaliul traducerii [From the work of memory to the work of translation”, at the colloquium „Istorie, sens și traducere. Abordări fenomenologice [History, Meaning, Translation. Phenomenological Perspectives]”, February 20th 2020, University of Bucharest.
  • Ovidiu STANCIU, “Condițiile sensului si posibilitatea istoriei. O lectura a celui de-al treilea Eseu eretic al lui Jan Patočka [The condition of meaning and the possibility of history. A reading of Patocka’s third heretical essay]”, at the colloquium „Istorie, sens și traducere. Abordări fenomenologice [History, Meaning, Translation. Phenomenological Perspectives]”, February 20th 2020, University of Bucharest.
  • Mădălina GUZUN, „În căutarea originalului pierdut: pentru o istorie filosofică a traducerii [In search of the lost original: for a philosophical history of translation]”, at the colloquium „Istorie, sens și traducere. Abordări fenomenologice [History, Meaning, Translation. Phenomenological Perspectives]”, February 20th 2020, University of Bucharest.

IV) Organization of an international conference and a national colloquium

  • International Conference titled “Shifting Roles. The Manifold Identities of Phenomenology” (The 5th Conference on Traditions and Perspectives of the Phenomenological Movement in Central and Eastern Europe). Bucharest, 26–28 September 2019.

Organizing committee: Ileana Borțun, Cristian Ciocan, Christian Ferencz-Flatz, Paul MARINESCU.
Keynote Speakers: Emmanuel Alloa (University of Fribourg); Bruce Bégout (Bordeaux Montaigne University); Mădălina Diaconu (University of Vienna); Claude Romano (Paris-Sorbonne University); Bernhard Waldenfels (Ruhr University Bochum).
22 panels, 71 speakers from Europe, USA etc.
Program and Booklet of Abstracts: https://shiftingroles.phenomenology.ro/

10 speakers from the Universities from Iassy, Cluj-Napoca, Bucharest, and from the Romanian Society for Phenomenology
Organizing committee: Paul MARINESCU, Mădălina GUZUN, Ovidiu STANCIU
Call for Papers: https://phenomenology.ro/istorie-sens-si-traducere-20-02-2020/
Program: https://phenomenology.ro/program-istorie-sens-si-traducere-20-02-2020/