This is the first comparative study of the work of the philosopher Paul Ricoeur and the psychoanalayst Jacques Lacan. The book explores the conflict between the two thinkers that arose from their differing views of ethics: Ricoeur's universalist stance drew on a phenomenological reading of Kant, whereas Lacan's was a relativist position, derived from a psychoanalytic reading of Freud and De Sade. "Ricoeur and Lacan" gives a full critical overview of the work of both figures, tracing the origins and development of their principal ideas, and identifying key similarities and differences. The book identifies and explores the key philosophical influences upon their work: Descartes; Kant; Nietzsche; Husserl; Freud; Marcel; and Jaspers. It gives an original perspective upon the development of ethics within Continental philosophy, providing clear and cogent analysis. Finally, it evaluates the importance of Ricoeur and Lacan in the development of ethical and political theory since the 1980s, with particular reference to the work of Slavoj Zizek.
Not only a valuable and original addition to the literature on two major thinkers, "Ricoeur and Lacan" is also an important study of contemporary Continental ethics.
Karl Simms is Senior Lecturer in the School of English at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of Paul Ricoeur in the Routledge Critical Thinkers series (2003).