Paul Ricoeur
(Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Philosophy of Language

  • Hermeneutic phenomenology
  • The symbols of pre-rational culture (myth, religion, art, ideology) hide meaning that can be discovered by interpretation
  • Interpretation can be backward (towards the archaic, e.g. Freud) or forward (towards the telic, e.g. Hegel)
  • There are always a patent and a latent meaning
  • Ultimately, meaning can only be revealed indirectly
  • Two-dimensional character of human existence: voluntary and involuntary
  • The voluntary and involuntary dimensions of human existence are complementary
  • This conflict is what identity and meaning to life
  • The problem of evil
  • Caused by the gap between the finite and the infinite dimensions of a human being
  • Caused by the gap between bios (one's spatiotemporal life) and logos (one's ability to grasp universal spacetime)
  • Human discourse and action both depend on and are independent of the context: they are meaningful only against the background of the context
  • The context might give our performances unintended meanings
  • Action is bilateral, not unilateral
  • "Man is this plural and collective unity in which the unity of destination and the differences of destinies are to be understood through each other"
  • A language is timeless because it is only a system of signs, but discourse always occurs at some particular moment of time
  • A language is a necessary condition for communication, but it itself does not communicate
  • Only discourse communicates
  • The signs in a language system refer only to other signs in it, but discourse "refers to a world that it claims to describe, to express, or to represent."
  • Analogy between texts and actions
  • All action is in principle interaction just as all discourse is in principle dialogical
  • Action, like discourse is inherently subject to interpretation
  • Like discourse, actions are "open worlds" whose meanings are not fully determined by their performers and their immediate audiences
  • Action remains open to interpretation
  • There is cosmic time, the uniform time of the universe, and there is lived time, the discontinuous time of our lives
  • "On a cosmic scale, our life is insignificant, yet this brief period when we appear in the world is the time in which all meaningful questions arise."
  • A calendar "cosmologizes lived time_ humanizes cosmic time"
  • Historical time harmonizes these two kinds of time and gives meaning to human action
  • Historical time becomes human time "to the extent that it is articulated through a narrative mode"
  • "The narrative constructs the identity of the character_ It is the identity of the story that makes the identity of the character"

(Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )