Imagination, Application, and Ethics: A Review of a Collection of Writings by Richard Kearney


  • Dr. Graham McCaffrey University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing



Littlejohn, M.E. (Ed.). (2020). Imagination now: A Richard Kearney reader (M.E. Littlejohn, Ed.). Rowman & Littlefield.  (pp. 364, $54.50 CAD, pbk)

This is a review of a new collection of writings by Richard Kearney, from 1988 to 2019. The volume is organized around the overarching theme of the role of imagination in hermeneutics and ethics. It has four thematic sections, focusing on poetics and culture, carnal hermeneutics, religion, and politics, followed by a recent interview with Kearney. The review is written from a viewpoint of applied hermeneutics. It is a rich and complex collection from which I highlight threads of narrative imagination, self and other, discernment, and the relationship between phenomenology and hermeneutics. Two examples pertinent to nursing practice are explored in relation to themes in the book as a way of showing its potential for contributing to applied hermeneutics and the concerns of those in practice professions.


 Hermeneutics, phenomenology, narrative, imagination, ethics, Richard Kearney


Author Biography

Dr. Graham McCaffrey, University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing

Dr. McCaffrey, RN, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary. He is Assistant Editor of the Journal of Applied Hermeneutics. He is author of Nursing and Humanities, Routledge; and co-author of Conducting Hermeneutic Research: From Philosophy to Practice (with Moules, Field, & Laing), Peter Lang; and co-author of On the Pedagogy of Suffering: Hermeneutic and Buddhist Meditations, (with Jardine & Gilham), Peter Lang.