Paul Ricoeur was one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century. In this short and accessible book, he turns to a topic at the heart of much of his work: What is translation and why is it so important?
Reminding us that The Bible, the Koran, the Torah and the works of the great philosophers are often only ever read in translation, Ricoeur reminds us that translation not only spreads knowledge but can change its very meaning. In spite of these risk, he argues that in a climate of ethnic and religious conflict, the art and ethics of translation are invaluable.
Drawing on interesting examples such as the translation of early Greek philosophy during the Renaissance, the poetry of Paul Celan and the work of Hannah Arendt, he reflects not only on the challenges of translating one language into another but how one community speaks to another. Throughout, Ricoeur shows how to move through life is to navigate a world that requires translation itself.
Paul Ricoeur died in 2005. He was one of the great contemporary French philosophers and a leading figure in hermeneutics, psychoanalytic thought, literary theory and religion. His many books include Freud and Philosophy and Time and Narrative.