Paul Ricœur et la question de la singularité et de l’unicité de l’événement à l’épreuve de la Shoah


  • Christian Delacroix



Event, Shoah, Negative ontology of past, Narrative identity, Inscrutability, and Standing for


The aim of this article is to analyze the work of the event’s relative desingularisation that Ricœur operates by coupling with the narrative in Time and Narrative in the early 1980s, then the re-opening of the question of the singularity and uniqueness of the event in Memory, History, Forgetting (in 2000) in the reconstructed theoretical frame of historical representation put to the test of the "event at the limits" which is the Shoah. In Time and Narrative Ricœur intends to transcend, through the interweaving of history and fiction applied to founding events of collective identity like the Shoah, the epistemological aporia of the dichotomy between a history which dissolves the event in the explanation and a purely emotional attitude in the face of events of considerable ethical intensity. However, this narrativisation of the event runs up against the traumatic power of the radical extra-textual of the event — the Shoah, which thus constitutes a challenge for the historical representation of the past. It is this question that Ricœur takes up in Memory, History, Forgetting, but this time the investigation has been largely reconfigured by the dialectic of memory and history, contributing to the representation of the past. While distinguishing the absolute moral incomparability of the Shoah and the incomparability relative to the historiographical plane (i.e., possible comparability), Ricœur maintains that the entanglement between historiographical judgment and moral judgment is inevitable, thus opening up the great question of the social, political and ethical responsibility of the historian.