Theology and Philosophy

Simone Weil Lecture 2012

2012 Simone Weil Lecture

Prof Richard Kearney (Boston College) “Narrating Pain: The Power of Catharsis”

About Richard Kearney

Simone Weil poster
Richard Kearney holds the Charles B. Seelig Chair of Philosophy at Boston College. He is as a Visiting Professor at University College Dublin, and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Australian Catholic University.

Professor Kearney is a prolific author in the areas of European philosophy and literature, and a public intellectual particularly in his native Ireland. He has written or edited over forty books, including two novels and a volume of poetry. Some of his recent publications include the much discussed Anatheism (Columbia, 2009), Navigations (Syracuse University Press, 2007), On Paul Ricoeur: The Owl of Minerva (Ashgate, 2005), Debates in Continental Philosophy (Fordham, 2004), and Strangers, Gods, and Monsters (Routledge, 2003).

He has served on Ireland’s Arts Council and Higher Education Authority, chaired the Irish School of Film at University College Dublin, and was involved in drafting a number of proposals for a Northern Irish peace agreement in the 1980s and 1990s.

He is a well-known contributor to European media, and has presented several series on culture and philosophy for Irish and British television.

Lecture Abstract

The lecture explores the healing function of narrative, in both fiction and history. Starting with Aristotle's famous definition of catharsis in the Poetics, it traces the therapeutic role of storytelling from ancient myth to the modern novel. It also engages with recent controversies on the moral and spiritual importance of trauma testimonies.

Listen to excerpts from Prof. Kearney’s lecture, along with material from the 2012 APRA conference and the “Problem of Evil” workshop held around this time (both hosted by ACU Philosophy in Melbourne) by going to these ABC Radio National Encounter program websites: God,Good and Evil and Saints, Strangers and Enemies.