Read Hermeneutics & the Human Sciences: Essays on Language, Action & Interpretation by Paul Ricœur Free Online
Book Title: Hermeneutics & the Human Sciences: Essays on Language, Action & Interpretation|
The author of the book: Paul Ricœur
ISBN 13: 9780521280020
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 366 KB
Edition: Cambridge University Press
Date of issue: August 31st 1981
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1967 times
Reader ratings: 3.7
Read full description of the books:
Some necessary background: I read this book for a class. I have almost zero familiarity with western philosophical thought after circa 1400 (Dont' judge! I'm a medievalist!), and honestly I was not entirely sure what hermeneutics entailed when I picked up this book. I thought it had something vaguely to do with words, or maybe the Bible? So I am very much not the target audience here, and I found a lot of it to be kind of impenetrable. If you don't have a background in the subject, I'd recommend a more introductory text, or a quick trip over to the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It's a cool field.
But if you're the sort of brave soul that walks into a book store, sees this text, and thinks 'Wow, hermeneutics! I don't know what that is, but it sounds like fun!' there's still a whole lot you can get from it if you have some patience and a good dictionary.
Some vague thoughts on what (I think?) Ricoeur discussed:
- I like that he's is such a conciliatory sort of philosopher. A lot of the eleven essays presented in this book end with time pulling together disparate fields of thought and showing how they can support and amplify each other. It makes his work feel creative and production.
- One of Ricoeur's recurring themes is that textual interpretation shouldn't be aimed at discovering the the mindset of the author hidden behind the text, but at exploring the 'possible world' that the text projects in front of itself. It's such a cool idea, and allows him to connect hermeneutics to all sorts of other fields. There's a tension that runs through everything between the fact that we're 'belonging' to the world but also distanced from it that I found to be pretty compelling.
- His ideas about metaphor and narrative are lots of fun. But the last essay is my favorite. He essentially says that because history entails both historical events and the writing about historical events, history and fiction are very much intertwined. Both deal with a dialectic between the alien and familiar in an attempt to speak about the world. My favorite quote: "By opening to us what is different history opens us to the possible, whereas fiction, by opening us to the unreal, leads us to what is essential in reality." *mind blown*
Please correct me if any of this is nonsense, I'm a bit out of my element here. I'm sure it's a fascinating and stimulating text for students of hermeneutics or just 20th century philosophy in general. And if you're not, well, it's an adventure!
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Read information about the authorPaul Ricoeur (1913–2005) is widely recognized as one of the most distinguished philosophers of the twentieth century. In the course of his long career he wrote on a broad range of issues. His books include a multi-volume project on the philosophy of the will: Freedom and Nature: The Voluntary and the Involuntary (1950, Eng. tr. 1966), Fallible Man (1960, Eng. tr. 1967), and The Symbolism of Evil (1960, Eng. tr. 1970); a major study of Freud: Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on Interpretation (1965, Eng. tr. 1970); The Rule of Metaphor (1975, Eng. tr. 1977); Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning (1976); the three-volume Time and Narrative (1983-85, Eng. tr. 1984–88); Lectures on Ideology and Utopia (1986); the published version of his Gifford lectures: Oneself as Another (1990, Eng. tr. 1992); Memory, History, Forgetting (2000, Eng. tr. 2004); and The Course of Recognition (2004, Eng. tr. 2005). In addition to his books, Ricoeur published more than 500 essays, many of which appear in collections in English: History and Truth (1955, Eng. tr. 1965); Husserl: An Analysis of His Phenomenology (1967); The Conflict of Interpretations: Essays in Hermeneutics (1969, Eng. tr. 1974); Political and Social Essays (1974); Essays on Biblical Interpretation (1980); Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences (1981); From Text to Action (1986, Eng. tr. 1991); Figuring the Sacred: Religion, Narrative, and Imagination (1995); The Just (1995, Eng. tr. 2000); On Translation (2004, Eng. tr. 2004); and Reflections on the Just (2001, Eng. tr. 2007).
The major theme that unites his writings is that of a philosophical anthropology. This anthropology, which Ricoeur came to call an anthropology of the “capable human being,” aims to give an account of the fundamental capabilities and vulnerabilities that human beings display in the activities that make up their lives. Though the accent is always on the possibility of understanding the self as an agent responsible for its actions, Ricoeur consistently rejects any claim that the self is immediately transparent to itself or fully master of itself. Self-knowledge only comes through our relation to the world and our life with and among others in that world.
In the course of developing his anthropology, Ricoeur made a major methodological shift. His writings prior to 1960 were in the tradition of existential phenomenology. But during the 1960s Ricoeur concluded that properly to study human reality he had to combine phenomenological description with hermeneutic interpretation. For this hermeneutic phenomenology, whatever is intelligible is accessible to us in and through language and all deployments of language call for interpretation. Accordingly, “there is no self-understanding that is not mediated by signs, symbols, and texts; in the final analysis self-understanding coincides with the interpretation given to these mediating terms” (Oneself as Another, 15, translation corrected). This hermeneutic or linguistic turn did not require him to disavow the basic results of his earlier investigations. It did, however, lead him not only to revisit them but also to see more clearly their implications.