Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium vol:240
Paul Ricoeur. Poetics and Religion (accepted) pages:453-472
Paul Ricoeur: Poetics and Religion location:Leuven date:October 28-31, 2008
In this article, I give an overview of Ricœur’s ontological thinking. Although Ricœur never dedicated a whole book to the theme of ontology, it is present in most of his articles. In his study on the will he approached ontology initially through a strictly phenomenological method. After his analysis of the symbols of evil, in which hermeneutics was used as a philosophical instrument, he discovered the importance of linguistics in philosophical questions. Consequently, his thinking underwent a linguistic turn and evolved into a phenomenological hermeneutic. Through his dealings with ontology, it became clear that ontology is influenced by hermeneutics as well. A firm and stable ontology seems no longer conceivable and should be exchanged for a hermeneutical ontology that articulates being within the horizon of language. In this respect, Ricœur develops the concept of metaphor through which the ‘seeing as’ leads to a ‘being as’. Although Ricœur acknowledges the dynamic and contingent character of being, his thinking aims at a dimension beyond historical dynamics. However, in trying to clarify the problems of ontology, he discover that it is not possible to solve the aporias of being. Still, language offers him an alternative opportunity to develop an account of being, namely narrativity, in which being is expressed in respect to its dynamic character and with the awareness that we always try to get a view on the whole from within.