The paradox implicit in memory - namely the question of how a memory of present can be of something absent, the past - is one of Ricoeur’s main themes of research on memory and forgetfulness. Furthermore, if the past reappears as an image, the study on memory brings into play the notion of representation, truth and loyalty to the past. This paper analyses the phenomenology of memory - based on the paradox of reality and image - and underlines how in Ricoeur’s studies the enigmas of thought are not examined through the hubris of total reflection, but in the work of the concepts pertaining to the explored issue. Consequently, Ricoeur builds his project on the work of memory and mourning - using the Freudian approach that considers memory as an activity of recovery in view of a future project - making use of a semantic network of concepts comprising eikon and phantasma, memory and image, imprint, presentification, perception, forgetfulness, re-presentification representation / representativeness. Ricoeur - specifying the difference between individual memory, collective memory and common knowledge - describes the recovery of the past as a vector designed not only to reveal the true knowledge of the past, but also as a way to explore the different meanings of the past in view of the difficult but possible experience of forgiveness.
Keywords: Memory, image, forgetfulness, memory work, the work of mourning, forgiveness