Richard Kearney

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Richard Kearney (/ˈkɑːrni/; born 1954, Cork, Ireland) is the Charles Seelig Professor in Philosophy at Boston College and has taught at many universities including University College Dublin, the Sorbonne, and the University of Nice.


He studied at Glenstal Abbey under the Benedictines until 1972, and was a 1st Class Honours graduate in Philosophy in the Bachelor of Arts graduate class of 1975 in UCD. He was also known on campus as a brilliant intellectual who launched the "Crane Bag" journal with fellow students including Andy Sleeman (now Fr. Simon Sleeman, OSB in Glenstal), Christina Nulty, Ronan Sheehan, and Aidan Matthews. He completed an M.A. at McGill University with Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, and a PhD with Paul Ricœur at University of Paris X: Nanterre. He corresponded with Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida and other French philosophers of the era. He was also active in the Irish, British, and French media as a host for various television and radio programs on literary and philosophical themes. His work focuses on the philosophy of the narrative imagination, hermeneutics and phenomenology.

Among his best known written works are The Wake of the Imagination, On Stories, Poetics of Imagining, and Debates in Continental Philosophy.

Richard Kearney has recently established an ongoing artistic and multimedia project called "Hosting the Stranger".[1] The project's core themes are host and guest; violence and reconciliation; embodied imagination and the sacred.


He is the author of over 20 books on European philosophy and literature (including two novels and a volume of poetry) and has edited or co-edited many others. He was formerly a member of the Arts Council of Ireland, the Higher Education Authority of Ireland and chairman of the Irish School of Film at University College Dublin. As a public figure in Ireland, he was involved in drafting a number of proposals for a Northern Irish peace agreement (1983, 1993, 1995). He has presented several series on culture and philosophy for Irish television and broadcast extensively on the European media. His most recent work is Anatheism, published by Columbia University Press in 2009.

He attempted to steer "a middle path between Romantic hermeneutics (Schleiermacher) which retrieve and reappropriate God as presence and radical hermeneutics (Derrida, Caputo) which elevates alterity to the status of undecidable sublimity."[2] He calls his approach "diacritical hermeneutics."[2]


Books written by Richard Kearney[3]
  • Poétique du Possible : Vers une Herméneutique Phénoménologique de la figuration – Beauchesne, Paris (1984) – translated into Portuguese
  • Dialogues with Contemporary Continental Thinkers: The Phenomenological Heritage – Manchester University Press, Manchester (1984) – translated into Spanish, Japanese and Russian
  • Modern Movements in European Philosophy – Manchester University Press, Manchester (1987) – translated into Chinese; second enlarged edition 1994
  • Transitions: Narratives in Modern Irish Culture – Wolfhound Press, Dublin / Manchester University Press, Manchester (1987)
  • The Wake of Imagination: Ideas of Creativity in Western Culture – Hutchinson, London / University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis (1988) / Routledge, London and New York (2004)
  • Poetics of Imagining: From Husserl to Lyotard – Harper Collins, Routledge, London and New York (1991)
  • Poetics of Imagining: Modern and Postmodern – Revised and enlarged edition Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh (1998) and Fordham University Press, New York (1998)
  • Angel of Patrick’s Hill – Raven Arts Press, Dublin (1991) – translated into Czech
  • Visions of Europe: Conversations on the Legacy and Future of Europe – Wolfhound Press, Dublin (1993)
  • Poetics of Modernity: Toward a Hermeneutic Imagination – Humanities Press, New Jersey (1995) and by Prometheus Books (2000)
  • States of Mind: Dialogues with Contemporary Thinkers – Manchester University Press, Manchester / New York University Press, New York (1995) – translated into Spanish and Russian
  • Sam's Fall – Hodder and Stoughton, London (1995) – Translated into German, French and Czech
  • Desiderio et Dio (co-authored with Ghislain Lafont) – Camaldoli, Italy (1996) – in Italian
  • Walking at Sea Level – Hodder and Stoughton, London (1997) – translated into German and French
  • Postnationalist Ireland : Politics, Culture, Philosophy – Routledge, London and New York, (1997)
  • The God Who May Be: A Hermeneutics of Religion – Indiana University Press, Bloomington (2001)
  • On Stories – Routledge, London and New York (2002) – translated into Dutch and into Chinese (translated by WANG Guangzhou(pinyin: WÁNG Guǎngzhōu, Chinese: 王廣州) and published in May 2007 by Guangxi Normal University Press); into Croatian under the title "O pričama" (Jesenski i Turk, Zagreb 2009, translated by Martina Čičin-Šain)
  • Strangers, Gods and Monsters: Interpreting Otherness – Routledge, London and New York (2003) – translated into Korean, Greek and Turkish
  • Debates in Continental Philosophy: Conversations with Contemporary Thinkers – Fordham University Press, New York (2004)
  • The Owl of Minerva: Encountering Paul Ricoeur – Ashgate Publishing Limited, Hampshire (2004)
  • Navigations – Lilliput Press, Dublin / Syracuse University Press, Syracuse NY (2006)
  • Anatheism: Returning to God After God – Columbia University Press (2009) – translated into French
Books co-edited by Richard Kearney
  • The Crane bag book of Irish studies, co-edited with Patrick Hederman (Dublin : Blackwater/Folens, 1982-c1987)[4]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Guestbook Project
  2. ^ a b John Protevi (ed.), A Dictionary of Continental Philosophy, Yale University Press, 2006, p. 492.
  3. ^ Richard Kearney, Boston College CV
  4. ^ The Crane Bag Book of Irish Studies, National Library of Australia's online catalogue listing. V. 1: 1977–1981; v. 2. 1982–1985. Retrieved 15 February 2011.

External links[edit]