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Discipline Filosofiche

The renewal of hermeneutics

Vol. 30 (2)

Paul Ricœur can be placed in the line inaugurated by Wilhelm Dilthey, one which does not oppose the Naturwissenschaften to the Geisteswissenschaften, insisting rather on the autonomy of scientific explanation and textual hermeneutics, as witnessed by his famous motto, ‘expliquer plus pour comprendre mieux’. He conceives hermeneutics as a ‘long way’ that puts philosophy in dialogue with the language of symbol and myth, with psychoanalysis, history, exegesis, semiotics and the philosophy of language, with ethics and, finally, with political questioningabout justice. In this process, he uses such different hermeneutical tools as attestation, reflective analysis and reflection, the interpretation of symbols and metaphors, of history and ethics, drawing a line that goes from the self of narrative identity to an interpretation of human beings in light of their capabilities. If the significance of these tools is not restricted to Ricœur’s own philosophy, it can prompt us to open up new paths of research. What has become today of the hermeneutical ‘work in progress’ and of the reading of reality proposed by Ricœur’s ‘long way’? Which further steps could be taken along the ‘long way’ started by the French philosopher, and how could hermeneutics continue to evolve today? These questions could be addressed 1. by building on different aspects of Ricœurian hermeneutics – the hermeneutics of symbols and myths, of text, psychoanalysis, self, history and ethics, politics, metaphor, narrative, biblical exegesis; 2. by considering not only Ricœur’s own work, but also the heuristic potential of his hermeneutics, that is to say, its capacity to discover new areas in which explanation and understanding can occur today; 3. by aiming at a renewal of hermeneutics and addressing the question of what has become of it after the âge herméneutique de la raison; 4. by taking up Ricœur’s comparison of hermeneutics with other disciplines and continuing his gesture by comparing it to other trends that the French philosopher did not explore (pragmatism, philosophy of mind, ethnology, economy…).

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(2020). The renewal of hermeneutics. Discipline Filosofiche 30 (2).

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