Paul Ricœur’s Search for a Just Community. The Phenomenological Presupposition of a Life “with and for others”

Marc De Leeuw


The aim of this article is to examine how Ricœur’s critique of Husserl’s and Levinas’s notions of intersubjectivity informs his own alternative conceptualization of the intra- and interpersonal as a complex intertwining of moral selfhood and a just community. My first assumption is that law, as a prescriptive intervention in the social structure of our communal life, presupposes a phenomenology of our “being with others”. My second assumption is that Ricœur’s entire philosophical anthropology, and specifically his ideas on ethics, legality and justice, can be read as a prolonged response to Husserl’s solipsistic deadlock in the famous Fifth Cartesian Meditation. Taken together these two assumptions connect Ricœur’s early analysis of phenomenology with his complex reconceptualization of moral selfhood in Oneself as Another, culminating in the ethical maxim of “a good life with and for others in just institutions.”


phenomenology, Husserl, intersubjectivity, Levinas, justice

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Copyright (c) 2018 Marc De Leeuw

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ISSN 2156-7808 (online)