The world is increasingly polarized along religious, ethnic, race, gender, class, and ideological lines. But must such diversity necessarily breed suspicion, fear, or violence? Richard Kearney invites us to consider another path. He wagers that the cause of our divisions often lies not in difference but in a lack of creative imagination. Ever in a spirit of dialogue, he shows how poetics and narrative imagination can break the hold of hostility and open new possibilities of reconciliation, accomplishing what moral arguments alone cannot.
Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need for Kearney’s work, which addresses our current moment of crisis and division, providing pathways of creative response and healing. This book follows Kearney’s journey through the fields of philosophy of the imagination, hermeneutics, philosophy of religion, ethics, psychology, practical philosophy, and politics. The selection of writings in this volume offers to the specialist and the general reader a concise, well-rounded entry into one of the most prolific and wide-ranging thinkers in contemporary philosophy.
Introduction: Reading Richard Kearney / Part I: Thinking Imagination (Poetics, Literature, Culture) / Introduction / 1. Imagination Now / 2. Narrative Matters / 3. Writing Trauma and Narrative Catharsis / 4. Post-Modern Mirrors of Fiction / 5. The Narrative Imagination / Part II: Reading Life (Hermeneutics, Semiotics, Psychoanalysis) / Introduction / 6. Welcoming the Stanger / 7. Strangers, Gods and Monsters / 8. Diacritical Hermeneutics: Reading Between the Lines / 9. Carnal Hermeneutics / 10. Hermeneutics of Wounds / Part III: The Religious Wager (Philosophy of Religion, Phenomenology of God, Inter-Religious Dialogue) / Introduction / 11. Anatheism: God After God / 12. Possiblizing God / 13. Epiphanies of the Everyday / 14. Eros Ascending and Descending / 15. Making God: A Theopoetic / Part IV: Philosophy in Action (Ethics, Politics, Critical Theory) / Introduction / 16. Between Poetics and Ethics / 17. On Terror / 18. Aliens and Others / 19. Towards a Post-Nationalist Archipelago / 20. The Wager of Hospitality / Epilogue: Richard Kearney Now / Bibliography / Index
Richard Kearney is Charles Seelig Chair of Philosophy at Boston College. His many publications include Anatheism: Returning to God after God (2010), Debates in Continental Philosophy: Conversations with Contemporary Thinkers (2004), On Paul Ricoeur: The Owl of Minerva (2005) and Navigations: Collected Irish Essays 1976-2006 (2007).
M. E. Littlejohn lectures in Philosophy at the University of New Brunswick and he is a visiting researcher at Sorbonne Université.
Murray E. Littlejohn has prepared a gift for those new to Richard Kearney’s work and a valuable compendium for those already familiar. It is an exceptional constellation of essays that map the contours of Kearney’s ranging conversations and comprehensive writings on the imagination. More than this, it is a catalyst for further reflections on the imagination with Kearney and the philosophical hermeneutical tradition from which he was formed. Such reflections are vital for our times disciplined by imaginations contained, embraced, and subjected by economic and technological rationalities, wherein nothing and no one remains exempt from the market or the machine. Kearney’s writings, as this collection has gathered, offer help—help to imagine again, to imagine differently.
An invaluable resource for anyone interested in Richard Kearney’s continuous impact and influence on the fields of philosophy and religion, not least because of its helpful introduction to Kearney’s work, his background, and the philosophical legacy that he was schooled in and continues to advance.
Now for half a century, Richard Kearney has walked and thought through our age of nihilism with courage and lucidity. And he has told us not only how to understand it correctly, but how to survive it. By focusing on imagination, possibility, the event to come and anatheism, he shows, humbly but forcefully, that we may still live, breathe and inhabit the world with someone like God.
In the intellectual effervescence of this unfixed “now,” we are treated to the fresh history and dauntless eschatology of Richard Kearney's polymorphic poetics. Art and ethics, flesh and wound, carnality and trauma, politics and epiphany: the essays resonate together in this after-God of a God in the making.