In defense of Ricoeur's hermeneutic interpretation of Freud's psychoanalysis


This paper re-examines the phenomenological-hermeneutical interpretation of psychoanalysis debate, presenting and defending Ricoeur's hermeneutical interpretation. Hermeneutical interpretation of Freud's psychoanalysis, particularly that of Freud's notion of the unconscious, is often taken to be bounded to linguistic representation without any direct access of self-knowledge. This paper argues, on the contrary, that there should be no presumption in favour of the phenomenological interpretation (or precisely Henry's interpretation), but that a careful study of Ricoeur's hermeneutical interpretation suggests that it can avoid the criticisms and objections raised by its competitors. (1) I characterize Henry's phenomenological interpretation of Freud's unconscious to his criticism of Ricoeur's hermeneutical interpretation of psychoanalysis, (2) I present a defence of Ricoeur's hermeneutical interpretation in terms of two central arguments (the twofold language argument and non-reductionist argument), (3) I respond to a number of influential objections to Ricoeur's hermeneutical interpretation, and (4) I sketch a proposal to the reconciliation of phenomenology and hermeneutics.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i18285368aXXXVn100p161

Keywords: Paul Ricoeur; Michel Henry; Hermeneutics; Phenomenology; Freud's psychoanalysis

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