History, Creative Imagination, and Forgiveness in Mediation on an International Stage: Practical Lessons from Paul Ricoeur's Hermeneutics

30, 2 Journal of Law and Religion, 2015

Emory Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-405

54 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2016

See all articles by Paul J. Zwier

Paul J. Zwier

Emory University School of Law

Date Written: April 15, 2015

Abstract

This article discusses Paul Ricoeur's moral philosophy as a tool for the mediation of international disputes. It argues that Ricoeur's hermeneutics provides a lens to examine how a mediator can use language to explore with representatives of the disputing parties a deeper sense of their histories as a pathway to creative imagination and problem solving. It shows how even, and perhaps especially, religious disputants can be led into a more profound sense of the complexity of their identity and history, in order to discover the sense of urgency and responsibility that opens disputants to imaginative steps toward peace and reconciliation.

In addition the article discusses Ricoeur's clear-eyed view of forgiveness as an important correction to modern-day uses of truth and reconciliation commissions. With this better understanding of the meaning and conditions of forgiveness in hand peacemakers will be able to help disputants design processes that are necessary for a lasting and just peace.

Finally it briefly discusses the challenges to applying Ricoeur's hermeneutics to international conflicts.

Keywords: Ricoeur; mediation; history; imagination; forgiveness

Suggested Citation

Zwier, Paul J., History, Creative Imagination, and Forgiveness in Mediation on an International Stage: Practical Lessons from Paul Ricoeur's Hermeneutics (April 15, 2015). 30, 2 Journal of Law and Religion, 2015, Emory Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-405, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2735882

Paul J. Zwier (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

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