2. The Narrative of Text: Life
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The previous chapter explored the relation between narrative and life. It explored Ricoeur’s account of the way human actions can be composed into texts. By reading such texts, one can discover one’s own identity through an encounter with the world of the text. This process begins by making sense of the pre-narrative qualities in human experience. It ends by recreating a fresh human identity. The dynamism that sets this activity in motion is the act of reading, which is really a whole process of understanding, explaining, and appropriating the textual meaning.
In this chapter, by exploring the way Ricoeur’s interpretation theory has been formulated and applied in the context of understanding, I shall show how the narratively composed text projects a life. Ricoeur’s hermeneutics aims to develop a paradigm for all possible forms of understanding, culminating in existential self-understanding. This provides a framework that envisages human beings as hermeneutical beings. I shall explore this by focusing on Ricoeur’s works on interpretation theory, especially Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences and Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning. ← 35 | 36 →
A Hermeneutical Turn
Ricoeur’s idea of the receptive reading of texts results in a theory of self-understanding. At this point, there is a relationship between self-understanding and the interpretive process. Receptive reading is engaging with and interpreting the text. In this interactive situation, the text shows a possible life. This is the existential possibility of the self. The self’s understanding of its...
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