Volume 22, Issue 2, Autumn 2017
Thinking with Paul Ricoeur
Jérôme de Gramont
Paul Ricoeur et le destin de la phénoménologie
Every reader of Ricoeur knows that hermeneutics endeavors to answer the aporiae of historical phenomenology. Hence arises the need to return to those aporiae and those answers. On the one hand, phenomenology, born with the maxim of going “directly to things themselves,” is confronted with the incessant evasion of the thing itself and with its dreams of presence being thereby shattered. This reversal should not be blamed on the failings of this or that thinker, but attributed to the very destiny of phenomenology itself. On the other hand, Ricoeurian hermeneutics takes note of a gap (the very remoteness of the thing itself), and of a necessary return (to the thing of the text). Thus, there is nothing for thought itself to grieve over with respect to this enterprise. However, while the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty, faced with the same difficulties, orients itself towards political philosophy, the hermeneutics of Ricoeur rather seeks to lead us to a philosophy of religion. This article hypothesizes that, in spite of the formula (inherited from Thévenaz) of a “philosophy without an absolute,” the thought of Ricoeur heads in fair measure towards the Absolute, and that ontology is not the only name of the Promised Land.