Paul Ricoeur: From Hermeneutics to Ethics

Journal of Chinese Philosophy 42 (1-2):125-142 (2015)
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Paul Ricoeur's early appreciation of hermeneutics introduced a dynamic interaction between a reader and a text. Employing both explanation and understanding, aided by the catalyst of Kantian creative imagination, Ricoeur revitalized hermeneutics from being simply a method of interpreting the literal meaning of a text. Such an openness to the text, as a form of otherness, initiated new insights into human ways of being and acting. In time, however, Ricoeur became disheartened by the unmerited suffering that he witnessed human beings were inflicting on other beings. He qualified his hermeneutic foundations so as to introduce compassion and justice as modes of action towards rejected and mistreated others.



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