A Hermeneutic Approach to the Political
Paul Ricoeur in his book Freud and Philosophy provides two different and competing models of hermeneutics. The first is grounded in the phenomenology of the sacred, the second is hermeneutics as the exercise of suspicion. Despite their opposed natures both of them, according to Ricoeur, belong to the same ‘hermeneutic field’ because both are dealing with the interpretation of various symbols and signs. Thus the most general definition of hermeneutics is ‘the theory of the rules that preside over an exegesis — that is, over the interpretation of a particular text, or of a group of signs that may be viewed as a text’.1 A short exposition of Ricoeur’s distinction will provide a helpful preliminary to my argument concerning the hermeneutic approach to the political as it may be seen in terms of MacIntyre’s philosophy. This confrontation will also help to form an alternative understanding of hermeneutics.
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