Discourse Studies 13 (5):593-600 (2011)

Alison Scott-Baumann
School of Oriental and African Studies
Ricoeur placed a great deal of importance upon text and the interpretation of text. Bell accepts this by virtue of his extended analysis of the story of Babel, and I hope to offer ways of extending and developing Bell’s arguments to incorporate the ethical demands that Ricoeur placed upon text, upon our interpretation of text and upon action as a form of readable text. This will not include a commentary on discourse analysis, which I am not qualified to give. Ricoeur differed from the structuralist tradition in that he saw the relationship between language and life as taking a dialectical form: debate that presumes the possibility of altering one’s position by grappling with different views, and often taking inspiration from Hegelian dialectics, with their contrasting polarized views and the eventual attempt at affirmative common ground. The term λoƔoσ was first used in a philosophical way by Heraclitus to give us the principle of order and knowledge, and yet for Heraclitus the world was dominated by conflict and change. Ricoeur studied this tension within logos between order and disorder, partly by his writing about language and his work on signs and symbols, partly through metaphor and narrative and also through his insights on translation. For him, all these are facets of the need for both Explaining and Understanding as forms of interpretation of language, ethics and action. Ricoeur’s work on logos provides us with an approach that asks whether ethics controls language or vice versa or both and how this fits in with structuralism and later movements. For Ricoeur, signs are not the centres of our perceptual experience. At the heart of our perception are our motivations and our actions, for which we must take responsibility in a sort of provisional affirmation that we will keep trying. In so doing we must doubt our own motives just as much as those of others, and see action as a form of readable text.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/1461445611412760
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,075
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Memory, History, Forgetting.Paul Ricoeur - 2004 - University of Chicago Press.
On Translation.Paul Ricoeur - 2006 - Routledge.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Paul Ricoeur: From Hermeneutics to Ethics.Morny Joy - 2015 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 42 (1-2):125-142.
Responsibility and the Physical Body.Geoffrey Dierckxsens - 2017 - Philosophy Today 61 (3):573-593.
Re-Imagining Text — Re-Imagining Hermeneutics.Christopher Duncanson-Hales - 2011 - Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds 7 (1):87-122.
Social Action and its Sense: Historical Hermeneutics After Ricoeur.Sergey Zenkin - 2012 - Études Ricoeuriennes / Ricoeur Studies 3 (1):86-101.
Rationalité et vérité dans les sciences morales et politiques. Le problème de l'action.Corneliu Bilba - 2009 - Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Practical Philosophy 1 (1):33-65.
Handlung, Text, Kultur. Überlegungen Zur Hermeneutischen Anthropologie Zwischen Clifford Geertz Und Paul Ricoeur.Thiemo Breyer - 2013 - Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Practical Philosophy 5 (1):107-129.


Added to PP index

Total views

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes