Volume 2, Issue 3, 2011
Paul Ricoeur’s Hermeneutics between Epistemology and Ontology
The aim of our text is to explore the ties of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics with ontology and epistemology. We have to admit that (1) for Ricoeur, at the beginning of his
work, hermeneutics (as one can find it in Le conflit des interprétations) was never a main topic (hermeneutics, as hermeneutic intelligence, was always a solution to a certain problem and never a problem in itself), and (2) that when hermeneutics becomes a main topic (as one can find it in Du texte à l'action), the purpose of Ricoeur is to suggest a renew ontological hermeneutics, beyond Heidegger and Gadamer, but still tied with his non-hermeneutic intents. Our thesis is that Ricoeur’s latest hermeneutics, beyond his epistemological status, can be regarded as ontology. Of course, one cannot find a direct ontology, as we can find it in Heidegger or Gadamer, but one can find what we can call a reversed ontology, an ontology which does not start from the centre of the human experience of understanding but outside of it. In other words, we are going to show that not even his late hermeneutics (the critical moment), better known as textual hermeneutics, is not per se an epistemological hermeneutics beyond its declared intention as being one.