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.