He studied at Glenstal Abbey under the Benedictines until 1972, and was a 1st Class Honours graduate in Philosophy in the Bachelor of Arts graduate class of 1975 in UCD. He was also known on campus as a brilliant intellectual who launched the "Crane Bag" journal with fellow students including Andy Sleeman (now Fr. Simon Sleeman, OSB in Glenstal), Christina Nulty, Ronan Sheehan, and Aidan Matthews. He completed an M.A. at McGill University with Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, and a PhD with Paul Ricœur at Nanterre. He corresponded with Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida and other French philosophers of the era. He was also active in the Irish, British, and French media as a host for various television and radio programs on literary and philosophical themes. His work focuses on the philosophy of the narrative imagination, hermeneutics and phenomenology.Among his best known written works are The Wake of the Imagination, On Stories, Poetics of Imagining, and Debates in Continental Philosophy.Richard Kearney has recently established an ongoing artistic and multimedia project called "Hosting the Stranger" found at . The project's core themes are host and guest; violence and reconciliation; embodied imagination and the sacred.