Hermeneutical Horizons of Meaning

Suzi Adams

in Castoriadis's Ontology

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234585
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240739 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Hermeneutical Horizons of Meaning

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This chapter addresses the second pole of the creative imagination—the radical imaginary—and critically engages with Castoriadis's theory of meaning as social imaginary significations. It situates him within French phenomenological perspectives in regards not only to meaning, but also to the problematic of the world horizon. Castoriadis emphasizes the world creating capacity of nuclear imaginary significations, such as “God” or “autonomy”, which have no world referent: they are purely generative and creative. The chapter argues that with his elucidation of the being of imaginary significations, Castoriadis makes an implicit hermeneutical turn that relativizes his claims of social-historical creation ex nihilo. The chapter includes an excursus on Johann P. Arnason's cultural hermeneutics and phenomenology of the world as an alternative to Castoriadis's ontological treatment of meaning and the human condition. It is argued that in the final chapter of The Imaginary Institution of Society, Castoriadis began to expand his notion of magma beyond human confines and into natural modes and regions of being, and, with the reappearance of à-être, paves the way to his shift to a trans-regional ontology of creative physis.

Keywords: hermeneutics; meaning; social imaginary significations; post-transcendental phenomenology; world horizon; culture; Johann Arnason; Durkheim; Weber

Chapter.  14868 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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