Imagination and Chance

The Difference Between the Thought of Ricoeur and Derrida

By Leonard Lawlor

Subjects: Literary Theory
Series: SUNY series, Intersections: Philosophy and Critical Theory
Paperback : 9780791412183, 203 pages, January 1993
Hardcover : 9780791412176, 203 pages, January 1993

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Table of contents


List of Abbreviations

INTRODUCTION. A Barely Visible Difference

PART I. The Polemic Between Ricoeur and Derrida

1. The Law of Supplementarity: A Reading of Derrida's "White Mythology"
2. Intersection: A Reading of Ricoeur's "Eighth Study" in The Rule of Metaphor
3. Distanciation and Difference: Derrida's Response to Ricoeur in "The Retrait of Metaphor"

PART II. Ricoeur's Notion of Distanciation

4. The Dialectic of Event and Meaning
5. Imagination in Metaphor and Symbol
6. The Historical Present
7. Ricoeur's Interpretation of Husserlian Temporalization

PART III. Derrida's Notion of Differance

8. The Primordial Unity of Essence and Fact: A Reading of Derrida's Introduction to Husserl's The Origin of Geometry
9. The Displacement of Imagination by Chance: A Reading of "The Double Session"

CONCLUSION: The Difference Illuminated

APPENDIX: Philosophy and Communication: Round-table Discussion Between Ricoeur and Derrida





Imagination and Chance illuminates the different philosophical projects that animate Ricoeur's hermeneutics and Derrida's deconstruction. Basic concepts in Ricouer such as discourse, metaphor and symbol, and tradition are examined, and texts by Derrida including "White Mythology," Introduction to Husserl's The Origin of Geometry, and "The Double Session" are analyzed. The book also includes a previously untranslated round table discussion between Ricoeur and Derrida.

Leonard Lawlor is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Memphis State University.


"It is a patient and well organized exploration of the nexus between hermeneutics and deconstruction as embodied in the works of Ricoeur and Derrida. It should serve as a guide to the differences between the two projects. This is a very topical subject and should be of wide interest. " — Richard E. Palmer, MacMurray College

"This is one of the best—most accurate and precise—texts on Derrida's work in particular that I have seen. The analyses are not reductionist or simplistic, as so many other works on Derrida are, to date. It is clearly written, very precise and very clearly focused. The author builds his case carefully, thoroughly and with excellent summaries of the two opposed positions. " — Irene E. Harvey, Pennsylvania State University