Paul Ricoeur's Surprising Take on Recognition


  • Arto Laitinen Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä



Paul Ricœur, Recognition, Attestation, Identity, Human Constants


This essay examines Paul Ricœur’s views on recognition in his book The Course of Recognition. It highlights those aspects that are in some sense surprising, in relation to his previous publications and the general debates on Hegelian Anerkennung and the politics of recognition. After an overview of Ricœur’s book, the paper examines the meaning of “recognition” in Ricœur’s own proposal, in the dictionaries Ricœur uses, and in the contemporary debates. Then it takes a closer look at the ideas of recognition as identification and as “taking as true.” Then it turns to recognition (attestation) of oneself, in light of the distinction between human constants (and the question “What am I?”), and human variables (and the question “Who Am I?”). The last section concerns the dialectics of struggles for recognition and states of peace, and the internal relationship between the contents of a normative demand and what counts as satisfying the demand.


Author Biography

Arto Laitinen, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä

Arto Laitinen is University Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland).