Imagination Controlled: Representation and Factuality in Historical Knowledge

  • Pier Luigi Lecis
  • Vinicio Busacchi Università degli studi di Cagliari


This paper aims to show how Ricœur’s inquiry on memory, trace, and testimony contributes to rebalance a framework that, at the level of the dialectic between imagination and representation, would essentially present Historian’s work as a hermeneutical work. In Ricœur’s later writings, we find a differently balanced perspective by focusing the (neurobiological and psychological) substrate of representation behind trace and memory. Representation precedes interpretation. And neither the fidelity of memory nor the epistemic truth of history belong to a game that would be solely played within the communicative space of a plurality of cognitive agents who are exchanging, controlling, and sharing their own experiences. Consequently, the reality of the past itself reemerges as the corollary of the practice of memory.


Download data is not yet available.


Ankersmit, F. (1994). History and Tropology. The Rise and Fall of Metaphor. Berkeley : University of California Press.

Dosse, F. - Goldenstein, C. Dir. (2013). Paul Ricœur. Penser la mémoire. Paris : Seuil.

Jervolino, D. (2002). Paul Ricœur. Une herméneutique de la condition humaine. Paris : Ellipses.

Michel, J. (2013). L’énigme de la représentance. In F. Dosse, C. Goldenstein (dir.), Paul Ricœur : penser la mémoire, op. cit., 277–290.

Ricœur, P. (1976). L’imagination dans le discours et dans l’action. In Aa.Vv., Savoir, Faire, Espérer. Les limites de la raison. Bruxelles : Publications des Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, 207–228.

Ricœur, P. (1983-1985). Temps et récit, t. 1-3. Paris : Seuil.

Ricœur, P. (1994). Philosophies critiques de l’histoire : recherche, explication, écriture. In G. Floistad (ed.), Philosophical Problems Today, Vol. 1. Dordrecht/Boston/London : Kluwer, 139–201.

Ricœur, P. (1998). La marque du passé. In Revue de métaphysique et de morale I, 7–31.

Ricœur, P. (2000). L’écriture de l’histoire et la représentation du passé. In Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 55(4), 731–747.

Ricœur, P. (2000b). La mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli, Paris : Seuil.

Ricœur, P. (2002). La mémoire : approches historiennes, approche philosophique. Le Débat 5, 41–61.

How to Cite
Lecis, P. L., & Busacchi, V. (2017). Imagination Controlled: Representation and Factuality in Historical Knowledge. Critical Hermeneutics, 1(1), 125-154.