Maria Sidorova 1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Forgiveness as a Possibility: The Approaches of H. Arendt and P. Ricoeur

2016, vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 192–207 [issue contents]
The theme of forgiveness unites H. Arendt’s and P. Ricoeur’s different philosophical interests. Both thinkers analyze this phenomenon in the context of the Avraama-Christian tradition of forgiveness, and ask the question concerning the opportunity of forgiveness in common life. This article gives the reasons for Ricoeur’s references to Arendt’s concept of forgiveness. It puts forward the idea that the rethinking of natality is a basis of Ricoeur’s concept of “forgiveness for us”. This article describes both the continuity and disagreement in Ricoeur’s and Arendt’s approaches to the issue of forgiveness. If Arendt conceptualizes forgiveness in terms of act, Ricoeur examines this phenomenon from the perspective of selfhood. For Arendt, forgiveness is not a typical action, but an event breaking the causal structure of common being. For her, forgiveness is some exception from the public space necessary for its own existence. Ricoeur proposes to consider forgiveness as a constant of common being. He analyzes forgiveness as a difficult act, but always possible “incognito”. Despite these differences, Arendt’s notion of natality becomes the decisive category for Ricoeur in justifying the constant of forgiveness. In introducing the condition of the separation between agent and act, he recognizes natality as a cause of the possible update of a guilty selfhood. This article assumes that Ricoeur’s appeal to Arendt helps him to formulate his own concept of forgiveness based on the review of the principles of the Avraamic tradition and its reception in Derrida’s philosophy. Thanks to Arendt, the place of forgiveness in Ricoeur’s theory as an “experience of the impossible” takes the difficult, but always possible, “incognito” forgiveness.
Citation: Sidorova M. (2016) Proshchenie kak opyt vozmozhnogo: podkhody Kh. Arendt i P. Rikera [Forgiveness as a Possibility: The Approaches of H. Arendt and P. Ricoeur]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 15, no 2, pp. 192-207 (in Russian)
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