Ricœur’s Influence in and from the Post-War Debate on Christian and Personalist Socialism
Keywords:Ricœur, Personalism, Socialism, Political paradox, Tragic optimism
This article discusses Ricœur’s contribution to the French post-war debate on the possibility and nature of Christian and personalist socialism in two journals, on the one hand Emmanuel Mounier’s pluralist journal «Esprit», on the other hand the leftist-protestant «Le Christianisme social». Among the gathering of personalists and protestant socialists around these journals, Ricœur found kindred spirits, struggling with similar questions and ambitions. Ricœur would become one of their main theoreticians. First, I briefly reconstruct the tragic optimism and its general societal implications that Ricœur drew from his phenomenology of the will in conversation with existentialism. Then, I discuss how these implications informed his reflections in «Esprit» and «Le Christianisme social» on the economic, cultural, and political dimensions of socialism. Finally, I highlight in what sense these debates made a lasting mark on Ricœur’s thought.