Paul Ricoeur believes that Europe has produced a series of cultural identities which brought with them their own self-criticism, and he thinks that this is unique. Even Christianity encompassed its own critique. Plurality is within Europe itself. Europe has had different kinds of Renaissance—Carolingian, twelfth-century, Italian and French, fifteenth-century, and so on. The Enlightenment was another expression of this, and it is important that in the dialogue with other cultures people keep this element of self-criticism, which Ricoeur thinks is the only specificity of Europe (along with, of course, the enhancement of science). The kind of universality that Europe represents contains within itself a plurality of cultures which have been merged and intertwined, and which provide a certain fragility, an ability to disclaim and interrogate itself.
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