Guest Lecture: Annemie Halsema, “The Subject of Critique. Ricoeur in Dialogue with Feminist Philosophers”; 2.2., Helsinki

Annemie Halsema (Professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Philosophy),


“The Subject of Critique. Ricoeur in Dialogue with Feminist Philosophers”


Time: 2.2.2016 14-16

Place: University of Helsinki, Topelia building, lecture hall D112

Street address: Unioninkatu 38


Paul Ricoeur is one of the most important philosophical anthropologists of the 20th century. He develops an extensive notion of the self from different sources: the analytical discussion about personal identity, contemporary theories of narrativity, classical philosophical sources, such as Aristotle, and contemporary phenomenology and hermeneutics. The notion of the self also is one of the central points of debate in feminist theory. Yet, feminists seldom relate to Ricoeur’s philosophy of the self.


This paper aims to show the relevance of his notion of the self for postmodern feminist theory, but also to critically assess it. By bringing Ricoeur’s “self” into dialogue with Braidotti’s, Irigaray’s and Butler’s conceptions of the subject, it shows that both notions are close in that the self is are articulated into language, embodied and not fully conscious of itself. In the course of the argument, the major point of divergence also comes to light, namely, that Ricoeur considers discourse to be a laboratory for thought experiments, while the feminist thinkers consider discourse to be normative, restrictive and exclusive. In the second part of the paper the possibility of critique and change are further developed. Ricoeur does not rule out critique, rather interpretation includes distanciation and critique. Finally, his notion of productive imagination explains how new identifications become possible.


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