The Deferred Self: Paul Ricoeur's <i>Oneself as Another</i>

John L. Meech

in Paul in Israel's Story

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780195306941
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785018 | DOI:

Series: AAR Academy Series

 The Deferred Self: Paul Ricoeur's Oneself as Another

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In his hermeneutics of the self, Ricoeur executes a series of detours to the self through several accounts of selfhood. Yet he refuses to grant the last word to any one of these accounts alone but puts them all into play at once in a journey led by the question of who: Who speaks? Who acts (and who suffers)? Who tells her story? Who is responsible? While Ricoeur acknowledges the role of community in the constitution of the self, he never takes the explicit detour to the self through community. In a final detour to the self through community, the self can be glimpsed reflexively as the correlate of a community when ethical conflicts put the self and community at stake together. In such conflicts, the need to identify the community in a narrative attains the status of something attested, and constitutes a first aporia in Ricoeur’s account. A second aporia appears when imputation, responsibility, and recognition are affirmed of the self who is the correlate of a community. These aporias are overcome by letting the community appear as “person” through the metaphor of the “spirit” in the community.

Keywords: alterity; hermeneutics; otherness; phenomenology; Paul Ricoeur; self; Spirit; transcendental

Chapter.  11388 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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