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Philosophy Today

Volume 58, Issue 3, Summer 2014

Christopher Watkin
Pages 411-425

Ricœur and the Autonomy of Philosophy
A Reappraisal

Paul Ricoeur repeatedly maintained that his philosophical reflection was autonomous from theological influence. Those who seek to contest this view have hitherto sought to deny the autonomy of philosophy from theology, but this article makes a more radical argument: not that philosophy is not autonomous, but that autonomy is not philosophical. According to Ricoeur’s own understanding of the structure of philosophical systems, the very notion of autonomy to which philosophy makes claim can only be thought as a theological notion. The argument has two parts. First, philosophy is theological in its own structure, and secondly, the relation between philosophy and theology can only be thought theologically.

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