Human Studies

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 477–490 | Cite as

Book Symposium

Parsing narrative – story, history, life
  • Richard Kearney
Research Paper

The question of narrative reference has given rise to a number of critical debates in contemporary philosophy. If hermeneutics is right in supposing that every narrative involves “someone saying something to someone about something,” the main question I want to pursue here is: what exactly is this something aboutwhich narrative speaks? Is it real or possible? Is it true or hypothetical? Is it actual or imaginary? Is it existent or non-existent? And how does the response to these queries depend on whether we are dealing with historical narratives, fictional narratives or the narratives of one’s everyday lived experience, as when we talk of one’s life-history or one’s life-story? These questions have been touched on in different ways by historians like Hayden White, literary critics like Frank Kermode and social scientists like Karl Hempel. What I wish to examine here, however, is a particular debate in contemporary continental philosophy conducted between David Carr and Paul Ricoeur...


Narrative Structure Ordinary Life Narrative Coherence Holocaust Denial Narrative Construction 
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  1. Carr, D. (1986). Time, Narrative and History. Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Kearney, R. (2002). On Stories. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Riceour, P. (1981). L’histoire comme récit et comme practique. Interview with Peter Kemp. Esprit 6, June: 165ff. Paris.Google Scholar
  4. Ricoeur, P. (1983/1984). Time and Narrative (Vol. 1). Trans. K. McLaughlin and D. Pellauer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Ricoeur, P., Carr, D., & Taylor, C. (1983/1991). Discussion: ricoeur on narrative. round table exchange at university of ottawa. In D. Wood (Ed.), On paul ricoeur: narrative and interpretation. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Ricoeur, P. (1991). From Text to Action. Trans. K. Blamey and J.B. Thompson. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA

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