Volume 81, Issue 3, Summer 2007
Thomas P. Hohler
From Aristotle to Heidegger to Ricoeur
The article begins with Aristotle’s discussion of phronēsis for ethical life, only to discover the absence of a universal dimension. This issue of parochialism as opposed to a kind of universalism is a structural element of this paper. Secondly, Heidegger’s ontological interpretation of phronēsis creatively transforms phronēsis to highlight a tension between ethics and fundamental ontology—a tension overcome in the paper’s third section devoted to Ricoeur. Thus, Ricoeur’s post-critical phronēsis is shown to possess a universal dimension while disclosing ontologically. Phronēsis responds to the need for universalization to overcome the parochial limitation but also incorporates an ontological disclosive power. Ricoeur’s post-critical phronēsis is a plural, collective, and public argumentation. Phronēsis is inventive and productive in resolving conflicts between legitimate universal claims or demands and is ontological.