The Primacy of Language in Paul Ricoeur’s Hermeneutics

  • Yohanes Slamet Purwadi

Abstract

This paper explores the philosophical foundation of Ricoeur‟s hermeneutics on meaning and truth. Husserl‟s phenomenology and Heidegger‟s existential phenomenology are used as points of reference to disentangle the complexity of Ricoeur‟s project which aims at self-understanding. Sets out from his critic on meaning and truth within phenomenological tradition, Ricoeur proposes and develops a new hermeneutical method. He places an emphasis on “the primacy of language” as a reference point to grasp selfunderstanding. Accordingly, “the primacy of subject” in the construction of meaning and truth is considered to be relative. However, it does not suggest that Ricoeur disavows the position of subject altogether. Instead, Ricoeur rejects subject that is understood as selftransparent. By stressing upon “the primacy of language”, Ricoeur shifts the focus of phenomenology from “intuition” to “mediation”; from “essence seeking” to “symbol interpretation”. Thereby, in formulating his concept of self-understanding, Ricoeur historicizes thesubject, that is, subject is no longer understood in its essence, but rather, as constructed and created withinlanguage.Keywords: Phenomenology, Linguistic turn, Life-world, Mediation, Manguage, Being, Re-description

Published
2015-06-30