Otherness and Desire in Paul Ricoeur's Hermeneutics of the Self
Faculty of Arts. Philosophy
, p. 67-88
University of Antwerp
This article examines Paul Ricoeurs ideas of otherness and desire. Both play a significant role in Ricoeurs philosophy in general, and in his hermeneutics of the self in Oneself as Another in particular. The thesis I defend in this article is that desire for otherness is nevertheless a blind spot in Ricoeurs hermeneutics of the self. In order to defend this thesis I will examine Ricoeurs triadic understanding of the other in the final chapter of Oneself as Another and in his essay Multiple Étrangeté. I will argue that in his triadic understanding of otherness, Ricoeur clearly describes three different experiences of the other affecting the capable self in talking, acting, narrating and being responsible, i.e., the experience of the world affecting the flesh, the experience of compassion for other people in relations of solicitude, and the experience of the other that is the inner voice of conscience. I will further argue that Ricoeurs understanding of otherness nevertheless insufficiently describes the experience of desire for otherness in the particular sense of the selfs attraction to otherness, which is different from these three experiences and which is nevertheless a significant experience for understanding the selfs capacity to talk, act, narrate and take responsibility.