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Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutics as a bridge between aesthetics and ontology

Sanja Ivic
p. 66-78

Abstract

Paul Ricœur’s ontology of art is derived from his hermeneutics, and Ricœur’s hermeneutics bridges his idea of aesthetics and ontology. Paul Ricœur’s ontology of art (in which the concept of refiguration plays a central role) sheds a new light in understanding and experiencing works of art. Ricœur discusses the metaphorical reference of poetic texts that opens up the realm of possible worlds. This idea of metaphoric reference can be extended to works of art as well. Both fictional narratives and artworks may be defined by the formula seeing as, and this formula represents their ontological status that may be defined as being as. Paul Ricœur argues that non-linguistic symbolic systems such as gestures, sounds and pictures also have the power to make and remake the world. Ricœur’s narrative theory can be applied to both to literature and visual arts as it identifies narrative capacity of artworks. Ricœur introduces the concept of refiguration that includes the transformation of reality, which is first prefigured in the consciousness of the author (mimesis 1). It is then configured in the artwork (mimesis 2), and finally into the experience of the viewer or listener of the artwork (mimesis 3), which leads to comprehension.

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Introduction

  • 1 Paul Ricœur mostly develops his philosophy of art in his Time and Narrative (1984-1988), The Rule o (...)
  • 2 I will rely on Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutical conception of reference presented within my monograph Pa (...)

1Paul Ricœur’s ontology of art1 emphasizes relationships between «the artistic object, aesthetic experience, and the world of the text or the work» (Lelievre and Inizan 2016). However, Paul Ricœur’s ontology of art has not yet been sufficiently explored. This inquiry will show that Ricœur’s hermeneutics (in particular, his idea of reference as refiguration2) can serve as a bridge between aesthetics and ontology.

2Paul Ricœur’s ontology of art sheds a new light in understanding and experiencing works of art. Ricœur compares metaphor and the work of art, as they both tell us «something new about reality» (Ricœur 1976: 53). His philosophy of art can be derived from his idea of metaphor and narrative which both belong to the realm of the symbolic. It is a common belief that the realm of referentiality is suspended in poetic texts. However, in his Time and Narrative (1984-1988) and the Rule of Metaphor (1977), Paul Ricœur offers a different perspective. Ricœur discusses the metaphorical reference of poetic texts that opens up the realm of possible worlds. This idea of metaphoric reference can be extended to works of art as well. For instance, Ricœur’s philosophy of art and his idea of threefold mimesis can be applied to works of installation as it explores relationships between objects, spaces and viewers offering some new perspectives on experiencing these installations as art. Ricœur argues that non-linguistic symbolic systems such as gestures, sounds and pictures also have the power to make and remake the world (Ricœur 1991: 206). The ability of works of installation art to refigure the temporal experience is accomplished by the encounter of the two worlds (the world projected by the installation art and the world of praxis to which the viewer belongs). Ricœur’s investigation of the relationship between philosophy and art is significant for exploring the ontological and epistemological conditions of works of art.

3Ricœur examines the problem of mythos, which he also takes from Aristotle’s Poetics in the second volume of Time and Narrative. Ricœur broadens this term and argues that its application is not limited to epos, tragedy, and comedy, as Aristotle asserted in his Poetics. Because Ricœur (1984) defines mythos as a synthesis of the heterogeneous, or as an integrative dynamic process, it can also be applied to installation art and other forms of art. The plot plays a significant role in Finn Reinbothe’s and Ilya Kabakov’s works of installation art (Ring Petersen 2015).

4Paul Ricœur’s ontology of art is widely influenced by the work of Ernst Cassirer (1923) and Nelson Goodman’s work Languages of Art (1968), and Goodman’s main idea that «symbolic systems make and remake reality” (Ricœur 1979: 123). Goodman emphasizes the cognitive dimension of works of art, rejecting the ornamental and emotionalist theories of metaphor and defending referential capacities of non-linguistic and non-representational symbolic systems (Ricœur 1991: 209).

  • 3 The same question is posed by Nelson Goodman in his book Ways of Worldmaking (1978).

5According to Ricœur, the question «What is art?» should be replaced with a question «When is art?»3 (Ricœur 1991: 206). Ricœur emphasizes: «There is art when the “symptoms” of what counts as art are there. Altogether they provide to a work of art a specific non-transparency which derives mainly from the integration and interaction of its multiple and complex references» (Ricœur 1991: 206). An object or event functions as a work of art by various modes of reference that contribute to «making of a world» (Ricœur 1991: 206). Ricœur borrows the expression world-making from Nelson Goodman and substantively revises it. He argues that Goodman equates «rendering» with «making», although these terms are not substitutable as they constitute a dialectical and dynamical pair (Ricœur 1991: 211). «The painter (…) understands himself as a servant – if not the slave – of that which has to be said, depicted, exemplified, expressed. Because a gap keeps recurring between making and rendering, he is never relived from the duty of painting» (Ibid.).

6Ricœur’s ontology of art broadens traditionally understood ontology of art and includes interdisciplinary field of inquiry. Ricœur’s investigation of the relationship between philosophy and art, includes the following topics: ontological and epistemological conditions of the artwork; interweaving of the world of the artwork and the world of the spectator/auditor; the problem of sense and reference within the artwork and so forth.

The role of hermeneutics in Paul Ricœur’s ontology of art

7Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutic arc covers prefiguration (mimesis 1) that includes various cognitive phenomena that precede the formation of the text itself, then configuration (mimesis 2) which includes the emplotment understood in the widest sense and structured relationships within the text itself, and finally, the reception of the text, the ontological status of the world that occurs in the encounter of text and reader (mimesis 3 - refiguration) (Ricœur 1984). In this way, literary texts have the power to transform the world by transforming the reader’s experience and perception of the world (Ricœur 1985). The same can be argued for artworks which also have the power to transform the world of auditor or spectator. Applied to installation art, this means that prefiguration represents a common ground of culture, language and human experience of the world, without which it would be impossible to understand the work of art. Configuration represents the composition of the work of art. Refiguration relates to hermeneutical and phenomenological dimension of the work of art which has the power to transform reality by bringing new meanings and perceptions of the world.

8According to Ricœur, the task of hermeneutics is to follow a structural activity. It begins in life, it is invested in the text, and it is then returned to life by the individual reading or public reception. Ricœur’s understanding of mimesis as the intersection of the world of the text and the world of the reader can be compared to Gadamer’s concept of the fusion of horizons (Gadamer 1975). It is founded on the following assumptions: 1) language is directed to the world outside itself, 2) literary (fictional) works bring new experiences into language and enter the world as every other discourse, and 3) narration is based on the interweaving references between historical and fictional narratives (Bečanović-Nikolić 1998: 41). Applied to art and non-verbal symbols, this means that prefiguration represents a common ground of culture, language and human experience of the world, without which it would be impossible to understand the work of art. Configuration represents the composition of the work of art. Refiguration relates to hermeneutical and phenomenological dimension of the work of art, which has the power to transform reality by bringing new meanings and perceptions of the world (Ivic 2018).

9Paul Ricœur’s narrative theory can be applied to installation art and other art forms as it identifies narrative capacity of artworks (Ring Petersen 2015: 200). Ricœur examines the problem of mythos, which he also takes from Aristotle’s Poetics in the second volume of Time and Narrative (Ricœur 1985). Ricœur broadens this term and argues that plots can be perceived as «synthesis of heterogeneous» which embrace various «goals, means, interactions and intended or unintended results» (Ricœur 1985: 8). Installation art also include plots (in the broadest sense) which embrace various objects, spaces, interactions, goals and so forth.

10The plot plays a significant role in Finn Reinbothe’s installation Between Before and After (1996). According to Ring Petersen, «this installation work does not contain an actual narrative, but can perhaps better be regarded as a meta-narrative that examines the installation’s sign system and the basic rules that it follows. The themes of the work is the installation genre’s narrative competence, which Reinbothe examines by peeling away the story itself» (Ring Petersen 2015: 227-8).

11Ricœur points to two difficulties that emerge in the process of understanding his idea of emplotment. The first arises from the fact that Aristotle’s definition of mythos is not applicable to the context of the different and more complex narrative compositions within modern and postmodern literary works. Aristotle defines mythos as «an imitation of an action that is whole and complete in itself» (Aristotle 50b, 23-5). According to Aristotle, an action is complete and whole if its beginning, middle, and end can be identified. Ricœur interprets this point of view as a priority of configuration over the episodic form and a priority of concordance over disconcordance (Ricœur 1985).

12Aristotle’s idea of the plot is challenged by postmodern novels. Twentieth-century novels, by comparison, had no conventions, as their authors attempted to abandon every established paradigm. The same can be argued about installation art. According to Ring Petersen:

Installation does like the literary text, contain opportunities for the construction of a plot: it can draw an action-based or thematic configuration from a simple succession, not from a succession of episodes (as in a novel), but from a succession of physical elements (…) Installation’s montage-like arrangement of elements does not have the written or oral account’s linear continuity (Ring Petersen 2015: 227).

13Recognizing the emplotment or even temporal organizations and characters in modern novels and artworks can be difficult. The picture of the world created in them is fragmented and polyphonic. Therefore, according to Ricœur, the main question that emerges is about the limits of the plot. Ricœur emphasizes that an eclipse of realism does not mean an eclipse of the narrative (Ricœur 1985). For example, even the new configurations such as «Ithaca», the penultimate episode of James Joyce’s Ulysses can be considered as a narrative (Ricœur 1985). As such, Joyce challenges the limits of narrative representation. In this usage, the narrative opens up to include almost everything imaginable. For this reason, Ricœur’s narrative theory and his idea of threefold mimesis is significant for deeper understanding of various forms of art.

14Anne Ring Petersen points «to the fact that the division of the arts into spatial and temporal art forms, since Lessing, has cemented the perception of visual art as a field that primarily makes use of spatial expressions» (Ring Petersen 2015: 225). According to Ring Petersen, installation art moves away from this traditional separation between space and time, and unifies these categories:

The installation cultivates, therefore, visual art’s limited ability to express itself on the subject of time; a cultivation made possible, paradoxically enough by the installation’s spatial expansion of the artwork, in that the work is organised as a spatial ambiance. In the same way that installational practice develops the ability of the visual arts to represent time, it also develops the narrative expressive potential. It is thus tempting to ascribe the same existential function Ricœur attaches to literary fiction and historiography to the installational works that exploit the genre’s temporal possibilities in order to create narrative structures (Ring Petersen 2015: 225-6).

15Ricœur’s conception of the threefold mimesis can be applied to Ilya Kabakov’s works (Ring Petersen 2015), «with a view to installations such as the Boat of my Life and The Man who Never Threw Anything Away» (Ring Petersen 2015: 237). According to Ring Petersen:

One can say that via mimesis 1, the installation’s narrative takes possession of experience by time and material from the world material that has character of a trace (…) With Kabakov, objects often function as a kind of historical trace. At the same time, they are clearly being subjected to a composition and subsumed to a plot (…) – a plot that highlights the historical nature of what Ricœur would call the being ‘within’ time (Ring Petersen 2015: 238).

16Ring Petersen emphasizes that «Kabakov’s installations (…) are not configured in mimesis 2 in the same strong sense as the literary narratives that Ricœur discusses. Rather, things seem to be pregnant with untold stories. They contain, as Kabakov expressed it, “a hidden narrative”» (Ring Petersen 2015: 238). These installations can be compared to postmodern and experimental narratives which redefine traditional concept of plot.

17According to Ricœur, even the rejection of any paradigm, illustrated today by the antinovel, stems from the paradoxical history of concordance. As Frank Kermode puts it, «even where there is a profession or complete narrative anarchy … it seems that time will always reveal some congruence with a paradigm – provided always that there is in the work that necessary element of the customary which enables it to communicate at all» (Kermode 1967: 129). Postmodern novels that do not have (recognizable) plots point to this incoherence of reality. They also point to metamorphosis of narrative paradigm. Ricœur argues that plot will be transformed in the future, but this does not mean the death of the narrative. Narrative function will not die; it will only be «metamorphosed» (Ricœur 1985).

Hermeneutical aspects of reference

18Ricœur’s hermeneutics (in particular, his idea of reference as refiguration) can serve as a bridge between aesthetics and ontology. The concept of refiguration (which represents a hermeneutical aspect of reference) plays a central role in Paul Ricœur’s ontology of art. The conception of reference as refiguration is introduced by Paul Ricœur in his The Rule of Metaphor (1977) and Time and Narrative, Vol. 3 (1988). Ricœur’s conception of reference embraces a relation to reality in its broadest sense. Refiguration includes the transformation of reality which is first prefigured in the consciousness of the author, then configured in the text or work of art and then, finally, transformed to the virtual experience of the reader of the text or auditor or spectator of the work of art, which leads to comprehension. Refiguration points to semantic and hermeneutic aspects of reference (Ivic 2018). Ricœur argues about the power of fiction and non-referring terms, which transform our experience and knowledge. Thus, even the works of art are referential, according to Ricœur as they point to possible worlds.

The work of art is…, for me, the occasion for discovering aspects of language that are ordinarily concealed by its usual practice, its instrumentalized function of communication. The work of art bares properties of language which otherwise would remain invisible and unexplored (Ricœur 1998: 172).

19Ricœur develops his philosophy of art starting from metaphor and narrative, which both bring semantic innovation – a new meaning which hasn’t been previously known (Ricœur 1996). Ricœur emphasizes: «Thus metaphor is the capacity to produce a new meaning (…), a new signification which exists only in the breaking up of the semantic fields» (Ricœur 1996). Ricœur argues that, on the other hand, a narrative produces a new meaning at the level of composition (configuration), where narrative joins together scattered events, contingencies and causalities (Ricœur 1996). Artworks also produce new meanings by bringing together multiple signs and symbols.

20According to Ricœur, the referential power of poetic discourse as well as the works of art «is linked to the eclipse of ordinary meaning, to the creation of a heuristic fiction, and finally to the redescribed reality brought to the reader” (Valdes 1991: 14) spectator or auditor. Ricœur’s idea of refiguration represents the transformative power of works of arts and scientific, historical and literary works to restructure the world of auditor, spectator or reader. Accordingly, those non-referential concepts that are immanent to artworks have the power to transform and affect our praxis and experience. Ricœur further discusses the notion of fiction and non-referential concepts in relation to possible worlds. This theory is based on the idea that even non-existent objects (such as a centaur or golden mountain) have some sort of being (subsistence) since we can refer to them (Meinong 1983).

21Some authors make a distinction between reference and denotation (Ivic 2018). According to Antonio Capuano, the characteristics of reference are «logically prior, true prediction-free, having an object in mind, causal-historical relation» (Capuano 2008: 9). On the other hand, characteristics of denotation are «logically posterior, true prediction-bound, having features in mind, satisfaction relation» (Ibid.). Nelson Goodman «teaches us that denotation does not cover the whole field of referential symbols and that works of art with null denotation – as is in the case with non-representational paintings – keep referring in a non-denotational way, for example by exemplifying and expressing» (Ricœur 1991: 211).

22Alexius Meinong developed an idealist theory of objects (Gegenstandstheorie 1904), arguing that an item becomes an object in the act of cognition regardless of whether it exists in reality or only as an abstract idea. «Absence, limit, the past… are claimed to be the traditional examples of what is non-real and, hence, ideal. Meinong adds a number of new examples to this list» (Grossmann 1974: 69). Although «non-existent», these concepts are part of our reality. Later, Edmund Husserl further develops Meinong’s point, incorporating it into his idea of intentionality. However, Husserl’s perspective differs from Meinong’s in that he gives primacy to the acts of consciousness over objects (Ivic 2018).

23In the Rule of Metaphor, Ricœur aims «to do away with this restriction of reference to scientific statements» (Ricœur 1977: 261). He argues that what a reader receives is not just a sense of the literary text, but through this sense, a reference (Ivic 2018). In the same manner, it can be reasoned that scientific terms, which are considered non-referential, do refer, since they are a part of our world and reality. It is through a sense of these terms that we receive their reference (Ivic 2018). The question is as follows: If those terms are referential, what do they refer to? The answer can be found in Ricœur’s analysis of reference of literary texts, where he asserts that in spoken language, reference is ostensive, while in written language it is not:

Poems, essays, and fictional works speak of things, events, state of affairs, and characters which are evoked, but which are not there. Nevertheless, literary texts are about something. About what? About a world, which is the world of this work (Ricœur 1974: 105).

The power of texts and artworks to project the world

24Ricœur argues about the heuristic and epistemic value of fiction that may be perceived as the realm of as if (possible worlds). Art also deals with the realm of as if and requires recourse to narratives and narrative configuration. Ricœur emphasizes that poetic reference is a second-degree reference that arises when the literal reference is suspended (Ricœur 1977). The same can be argued for referential power of works of art. Semantic innovation is the kind of linguistic creativity that can be ascribed to metaphors, narrative texts and artworks. In metaphor, semantic innovation is contained in producing «a new semantic pertinence by means of an impertinent attribution», while in narrative texts, semantic innovation is contained in the capacity of plots to produce «a new congruence in the organization of events» (Ricœur 1984: ix). The same can be said for the works of art.

25Ricœur defines the concept of productive reference as equivalent to «reality shaping» in his investigation of how fictions refer to reality (Ricœur 1979). As in the case of art and fiction, there is no given model to which it could be referred; fiction refers to reality in a productive way (not in a reproductive way). As it has no previous referent, fiction increases reality (Ivic 2018). Ricœur points that some changes should be made in order to understand how fiction changes and reinvents reality. He asserts, «the first change concerns the shift from the framework of perception to that of language» (Ricœur 1979: 127). Thus, Ricœur links the productive aspects of imagination to the productive aspects of language. The second change involves

an attempt to link fiction tightly to work… Writing a poem, telling a story, construing a hypothesis, a plan, or a strategy – these are the kinds of contexts of work that provide a perspective to the imagination and allow it to be «productive» (Ricœur 1979: 128).

26Ricœur’s main idea is that we don’t derive image or concept from perception, but from language (Ricœur 1979: 129). According to Ricœur, «only the image which does not already have its referent in reality is able to display a world» (Ricœur 1979: 134). Ricœur calls this a «paradox of the theory of fiction» (Ibid.). Fiction remakes the world, since «fictio[(fiction)] comes from facere [(making)]» (Ricœur 1979: 134). Classical philosophy closed the way to an ontology of fiction, since it reduced fiction to illusion (Ibidem).

27Ricœur mostly investigates literary work and perceives it as a way of understanding the world and self-understanding. He perceives literature philosophically, within the framework of the widely understood interpretation theory. Ricœur considers the text in relation to the world that opened by the text (Ivic 2018). Interpreting the text means opening up possible worlds of the text and letting these worlds work on us. Ricœur emphasizes the dynamic nature of the identity of the text. His starting point is narrativity in the widest sense – narrativity of various texts, both historical and fictional, and its capacity to structure a plot (Ivic 2018). His understanding of the text may be understood as a powerful metaphor that can be applied to poetry and other artworks.

28Fictional narratives and various artworks create a fictive world that intertwines with the reader’s, spectator’s or auditor’s world and forms their virtual experience, having a transformative effect in relation to the domain of human praxis. This transformative effect occurs because fiction does not have a referential relation to reality, but a refigurative one. Both fictional narratives and artworks may be defined by the formula seeing as, and this formula represents their ontological status that may be defined as being as (Ricœur 1984). However, both fictional narratives and other artworks gain their ontological status in relation to the reader, spectator or auditor.

29The world of the text is the main subject of Ricœur’s hermeneutics. Ricœur emphasizes the dynamic nature of the identity of the text. His starting point is narrativity in the widest sense – narrativity of various texts, both historical and fictional, and its capacity to structure a plot. According to Ricœur, literary texts speak about the world, but not in a descriptive way. He explains that non-ostensive references point to possible worlds, saying,

texts speak of possible worlds and of possible ways of orienting oneself with those worlds. In that way, disclosure becomes the equivalent for written texts of ostensive references for spoken language, and interpretation becomes the grasping of world-propositions, opened up by the non-ostensive references of the texts (Ricœur 1981: 177).

30He argues that the concept of the world must be extended in order to embrace non-ostensive and descriptive references as well as non-ostensive and non-descriptive references. These non-ostensive references and non-descriptive reference are characteristic to artworks.

For me, the world is an ensemble of references opened up by every kind of text, descriptive or poetic, that we have read, understood, and loved. And to understand a text is to interpolate in the predicates of our situation all the indications that make a Welt out of an Unwelt. It is this enlarging of our horizon of existence, which permits us to speak of the reference opened up by the text or of the world opened by the referential claims of most texts (Ricœur 1977: 10).

31The world of the text is not hidden behind the text, but open in front of it. Poetic discourse has the power of mediation between meaning and referentiality. The basic problem that Ricœur builds on his hermeneutics is precisely the problem of the relation of sense and reference (Ivic 2018). He perceives reference as refiguration of reality. Ricœur perceives reference as refiguration – by the act of reading our understanding of the world is transformed into new possibilities of understanding offered by the narrative process itself. This process is a form of not only understanding, but also creating the world through imagination (Ivic 2018). Ricœur develops this concept further in his later works, particularly in his Critique and Conviction:

I define the function of refiguration as mimetic. But it is extremely important not to be mistaken as to its nature: it does not consist in reproducing reality but in reconstructing the world of the reader in confronting him or her with the world of the work; and it is in this that the creativity of art consists, penetrating the world of everyday experience in order to rework it from inside (Ricœur 1998: 173).

32Therefore, reading is a vital experience that includes three dimensions: the reader’s capacity to create the meaning, the revelation of hidden aspects of the text by reading, and the reader’s quest for coherence (Ricœur 1984). The same can be argued for perceiving the work of art, which also includes the auditor or spectator’s capacity to create the meaning and the capacity for the work of art to restructure the world of the observer or listener.

33The power of the work of art to project the world outside itself (the fictive world) creates the conditions for the reader’s, spectator’s or auditor’s relation to the presupposed world and to the world in which he/she really exists. According to Ricœur, the interpretation is not the inter-subjective relation between the author and the reader of the text or the auditor/spectator of the work of art. Rather, it is the relation of the reader, auditor or spectator to the fictive world, which is projected by his encounter with the text/artwork. Thus, to understand the text/artwork means to extend one’s experience and one’s picture of the world and time through the comprehension of imaginative possibilities created by the text/artwork (Bečanović-Nikolić 1998). Ilya Kabakov’s installations extend the viewer’s picture of the world by transfiguring the experience of time. According to Ring Petersen:

In both the Boat of my Life and The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away, the montage-like construction that Kabakov employs results in a radical deconfiguring of the narrative’s progressive time. The narrative is broken up. All episodes are available simultaneously. Thus, to some extent it becomes the viewer’s task to make the final configuration of the narrative’s plot and temporal sequence, what the artist has allowed to stand very much open. It is up to the viewers, therefore, in the execution of mimesis 3, to relate, or rather retell, the installation’s untold or hidden stories for themselves in the subjective way that lies at the heart of an authentic experiences where one makes the narrative one’s own (Ring Petersen 2015: 238).

Conclusion

34Ricœur’s ontology of art undermines established ontological categories and concepts and sheds a new light in understanding and experiencing works of art. The hermeneutical concept of refiguration plays a central role in Ricœur’s ontology of art. Artworks have the power to transform the world offering new meanings and perspectives. Thus, Ricœur’s hermeneutics, and in particular his idea of hermeneutical aspects of reference and referentiality, bridges aesthetics and ontology.

35Ricœur discusses the metaphorical reference of poetic texts that opens up the realm of possible worlds. This idea of metaphoric reference can be extended to works of art as well. Both fictional narratives and artworks may be defined by the formula seeing as, and this formula represents their ontological status that may be defined as being as. Ricœur argues that non-linguistic symbolic systems such as gestures, sounds and pictures also have the power to make and remake the world (Ricœur 1991: 206).

36Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutic arc covers prefiguration (mimesis 1) that includes various cognitive phenomena that precede the formation of the text itself, then configuration (mimesis 2) which includes the emplotment understood in the widest sense and structured relationships within the text itself, and finally, the reception of the text, the ontological status of the world that occurs in the encounter of text and reader (mimesis 3 - refiguration) (Ricœur 1984). In this way, literary texts have the power to transform the world by transforming the reader’s experience and perception of the world (Ricœur 1985). The same can be argued for artworks which also have the power to transform the world of auditor or spectator. According to Ricœur, the task of artwork is to follow a structural activity. It begins in life, it is invested in the work of art, and it is then returned to life by the public reception. Ricœur’s understanding of mimesis 3 implies intersection of the world of the work of art and the world of the spectator/reader.

37The aim of this inquiry was to show that Paul Ricœur’s idea of plot defined as synthesis of heterogeneous can be identified in works of installation art. The plot plays a significant role in Finn Reinbothe’s and Ilya Kabakov’s works of installation art. Paul Ricœur compares metaphor and the work of art, as they both tell us «something new about reality» (Ricœur 1976: 53).

38Ricœur blurs the distinctions between scientific, historical, and fictional discourse. He problematizes the dichotomies such as real/unreal, reference/non-reference, science/art and literary/metaphoric (Ivic 2018). His idea of reference as refiguration comprehends the fictive as well as the factual, the metaphorical as well as the literal, and the real as well as the possible (Ivic 2018). The question of reference in philosophy is mostly linked to the domain of science, while art, history, and other fields are neglected. Ricœur’s hermeneutics contributes to both the natural and social sciences in the broadest sense, by investigating the power of non-referential concepts to make and transform reality. In this way, he offers a novel perspective to cognitive dimension of artworks and fiction in the broadest sense.

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Ricœur, P. 1985, Time and Narrative, vol. 2, trans. by K. McLaughlin, D. Pellaver, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Ricœur, P. 1988, Time and Narrative, vol. 3, trans. by K. McLaughlin, D. Pellaver, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Ricœur, P. 1991, Review of Nelson Goodman’s Ways of Worldmaking, in M.J. Valdés (ed.), A Ricœur Reader: Reflection and Immagination, Hemel Hempstead, Harvester Wheatshef.

Ricœur, P. 1996, Arts, Language and Hermeneutic Aesthetics, interview with Paul Ricœur, conducted by Jean-Marie Brohm and Magali Uhl, September 20, Paris, http://www.philagora.net/philo-fac/Ricœur-e6.php.

Ricœur, P. 1998, Critique and Conviction: Conversations with François Azouvi and Marc de Launay. trans. by K. Blamey, New York, Columbia University Press.

Ring Petersen, A. 2015, Installation Art Between Image and Stage, Copenhagen, Museum Tusculanum Press.

Valdés, M.J. 1991, Introduction: Paul Ricœur’s Post-Structuralist Hermeneutics, in Id. (ed.), A Ricœur Reader: Reflection and Immagination, Hemel Hempstead, Harvester Wheatshef.

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Note

1 Paul Ricœur mostly develops his philosophy of art in his Time and Narrative (1984-1988), The Rule of Metaphor (1977) and Critique and Conviction (1998).

2 I will rely on Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutical conception of reference presented within my monograph Paul Ricœur’s Idea of Reference: The Truth as Non-Reference (2018).

3 The same question is posed by Nelson Goodman in his book Ways of Worldmaking (1978).

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Sanja Ivic, «Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutics as a bridge between aesthetics and ontology»Rivista di estetica, 73 | 2020, 66-78.

Notizia bibliografica digitale

Sanja Ivic, «Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutics as a bridge between aesthetics and ontology»Rivista di estetica [Online], 73 | 2020, online dal 01 février 2021, consultato il 18 septembre 2021. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/estetica/6738; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/estetica.6738

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