Distanciation and Epoché: The Influence of Husserl on Ricoeur’s Hermeneutics

  • Leslie MacAvoyEmail author
Part of the Contributions to Hermeneutics book series (CONT HERMEN, volume 2)


Ricoeur’s concept of distanciation is central to his critical hermeneutics. This paper argues that this concept gets its critical potential from its relationship to Husserl’s notion of the epoché. The epoché entails a bracketing of the natural attitude that inaugurates the phenomenological attitude. From this vantage point one can see that the sense of reality is given through a synthesis of the actual and the possible. Thus, the epoché opens up the dimension of the possible in the real, and this in turn opens up the space for the imagination to engage in eidetic variation. These elements of the epoché are echoed in Ricoeur’s treatment of distanciation as opening up a second order reference through which a text proposes a world. The text exposes the reader not only to other possible worlds, but other possible ways of being, thus affording a perspective from which one can question current ways of being.


Distanciation Epoché Ricoeur Husserl Imagination Critical hermeneutics 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and HumanitiesEast Tennessee State UniversityJohnson CityUSA

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