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Philosophical Hermeneutics and Political Philosophy. The Paradigm of translation in Paul Ricoeur

Alberto Martinengo


The relationship between philosophical hermeneutics and political reflections cannot be reduced to a unique model. Differences are relevant among its main authors: from Heidegger’s analysis of polis as a site where ontological difference appears, to Gadamer’s practical turn, and Ricoeur’s political background of his hermeneutics of the conflict. The present paper argues that – despite appearances – the political issue is a general presupposition of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics from the late 1950’s onwards: in his philosophy of symbolism, metaphor, and narrative, it acts as a metaphorical reservoir giving rise to thought. After the ethical turn of the 1990’s, the political matters come to the fore in the form of a theory of translation, which is the very heart of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics.


Hermeneutics; Political Philosophy; Ricoeur; Conflict; Translation

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