Phenomenology 2010

Volume 3, 2011

Selected Essays from the Euro-Mediterranean Area

Domenico Jervolino
Pages 257-279

Le long dialogue de Ricoeur avec la psychanalyse freudienne

The encounter with Freud stands at the core of Ricoeur’s philosophical itinerary. This paper intends to bring about what is at stake in this encounter not only through a second reading of the famous essay on Freud from 1965, but also by taking into account the Ricoeur’s work. Special attention is paid to his continuous effort to build an ethics of life as a free gift, to which we have to answer with gratitude and generosity, always being aware of the fact that the human being implies both activity and passivity and that any human capacity is accompanied and menaced by a form of incapacity. The key to the existence is then finitude, vulnerability, and unaccomplishment. The work of mourning, as taught by Freud, has to liberate us from the illusions of omnipotence and bring us back to the authentic awareness of the human condition. However, this final wisdom does not lead to an ascetic Stoical conception of living. On the contrary, it is the premise for attending joy, against both the enigma and the challenge of evil, by persevering in the fight against the evil spread throughout the world. It is a fight against what is painful or degrading to the humane character of humankind.