From epistemology to ontology, the hermeneutic circle of difference and identity in the thought of Paul Ricoeur

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 1986
Thesis identifier
  • T5547
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • This thesis has attempted to examine Paul Riceoeur's work as a whole. Its aim has been to enquire whether the dialectics of difference and identity played any essential part in his hermeneutic phenomenology.The introduction gave an overall view of Ricoeur's writings situated within the contemporary landscape of French philosophy.Part I set out to study Ricoeur's abstract phenomenology. The results obtained showed : 1. That Ricoeur's philosophical background, especially Husserl's phenomenology and Marcel's existentialism, had a deep influence on him; 2. That his structural phenomenology of the will, developed from an imaginative combination of Husserl's epistemological method and Marcel's ontological vision, to constitute a framework towards the understanding of human nature; 3.That 'man's non-coincidence with himseIf' brought an existential distance within structural unity,thus leading to an abstract reflection upon the structures of human reality, and to the disclosure of a 'fault'. Part II enquired into the emergence of Ricoeur's hermeneutics, a turning point towards concrete phenomenology. This study demonstrated:1. That the 'same' of meaning could be reached only indirectly through the 'other' of signs, of symbols and myths calling for interpretation; 2. That such an 'other' had to be critically deciphered if it was to disclose the 'same' of consciousness; 3. That the structure of symbols, understood in terms of archaeology and teleology, explained the conflict of interpretations which, in turn, and when arbitrated, revealed a 'same'.Part III studied Ricoeur's concrete phenomenology of language and narrative. This discussion showed:1. That the hermeneutic circle of explanation and understanding was itself a dialectics of difference and identity, at the level of text and semantic innovation; 2. That identity could only be a narrated identity since man finds himself via the mediation of stories and histories.Thus, the conclusion must be drawn that the dialectics of difference and identity is the touchstone beneath Ricoeur's hermeneutic phenomenology.
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 1986
Former identifier
  • 992205013402996