Textual hermeneutics, interpretive responsibility and the objectification and interpretation of action: Paul Ricoeur and “the model of the text”

Standen, David J (2013) Textual hermeneutics, interpretive responsibility and the objectification and interpretation of action: Paul Ricoeur and “the model of the text”. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

In this thesis I develop a critical but sympathetic reading of Paul Ricoeur’s textual model of interpretation as it is presented in his 1971 essay “The Model of the Text:
Meaningful Action Considered as a Text”.
My reading of Ricoeur’s essay aims to clarify some of the strengths and limitations of his project in “The Model of the Text”, and to develop the analogy between text and action in directions left largely undeveloped by Ricoeur. In particular, I argue that hermeneutic philosophy can help us elucidate the validity of interpretive claims in the human and social sciences, and also to understand the role of the
objectification of action in ensuring this validity. The fixation of action as an object of inquiry opens up the possibility for interpreters to hold themselves at a distance from their pre-reflective judgements regarding the meaning of action. This allows interpreters to reflect critically upon action and to arbitrate between competing interpretations. Furthermore, the textual model allows us to recognise the
description and objectification of action as an active and constitutive dimension of interpretive activity in the human and social sciences.
My argument proceeds by engaging in a detailed examination of Ricoeur’s hermeneutic thought, expanding upon aspects of hermeneutic philosophy that can inform our understanding of the textual model, and by attempting to address points of disanalogy and potential objections that may emerge from the application of textual hermeneutics to the interpretation of meaningful action. Ricoeur’s textual model has the potential to provide a valuable resource for the human and social 4 sciences by inviting its practitioners to consider the interpretation of action in terms of the text and textual hermeneutics, but only on the condition that self-critique and a recognition of objectification as part of interpretive activity are incorporated into interpretive practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Philosophy
Depositing User: Brian Watkins
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2013 14:38
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2013 14:38
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/43021
DOI:

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