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Word, Writing, Tradition

  • Michael SohnEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the Contributions to Hermeneutics book series (CONT HERMEN, volume 2)

Abstract

Paul Ricœur’s understanding of tradition is usually associated with his intervention in the Gadamer-Habermas debate in an important work entitled “Hermeneutics and the Critique of Ideology” (1973). This chapter focuses on his earlier writings on tradition, specifically his critical engagement with French structuralism and philosophy of language during the 1960s through the early 1970s, which inform his later more well-known reflections. Instead of pursuing the now familiar themes of critique and ideology, distanciation and belonging, then, the themes of word or speech [parole] and writing [écriture] will be examined. I argue that Ricœur offers a critique of a dead and static notion of tradition, conceived as an abstract, fixed structure and meaningless deposit. And he presents a constructive alternative for a living and dynamic sense of tradition, which is first an eventful address of speech to a listening individual or community and which is meaningfully mediated by writing through the phenomenon of the ‘written voice’ and the ‘listening reader’. By attending to and parsing the meanings of parole and écriture, this chapter unfolds a philosophically rigorous and linguistically informed concept of tradition that is, at once, conservative and innovative.

Keywords

Hermeneutics Language Tradition Event Meaning 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cleveland State UniversityClevelandUSA

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