Critical Hermeneutics is a biannual international journal, which promotes theoretical and moral studies of philosophy. It is inspired in particular by the model, procedural style, schools of reference, research itinerary and thematic articulations of Paul Ricoeur’s (1913-2005) work.
In his Du texte à l’action (1986), the French philosopher defined his methodology and speculative work as follows: (a) a «reflexive philosophy» that remains (b) within the «sphere of Husserlian phenomenology» as (c) its «hermeneutical variation». Without doubt, this formula precisely resumes the essential and tendential character of his construction and methodology, which is an interpretative description with reflective basis. However, a more general formula is one of ‘critical hermeneutics’, which is comprehensive of subsequent developments and, at the same time, susceptible to a more precise and wider application (it is an expression used by Ricœur in qualifying his position of mediation between Gadamer’s hermeneutics of tradition and Habermas’ critique of ideology). It is a formula of a philosophy whose epistemology has its fundament in the so called hermeneutic arc theory, which is a conception elaborated through the vast hermeneutical phenomenological research on psychoanalysis, theory of the text, theory of action, and history. This theory gives to critical hermeneutics a bifacial epistemological configuration (the same which is at work in psychoanalysis, history and in all of the human and social sciences), having a transversal collocation between explanation and understanding.
To this salient aspect there are other elements that characterise the Ricoeurian philosophical work conceived as a unified procedural style. Its main recurrent and characteristic aspects form the specific mark and the operational direction for this review; that is:
- the (Jaspersian) ideal of co-philosophising, the work of research and dialogue within the community of philosophers (where, the argumentation comes before ideal or personal creed;
- the philosophical procedure, from which ‘all the books are open simultaneously’ for the scholar (see Memory, History, Forgetting, 2004), and all instruments of research immediately usable, being without any limitation due to time, place or tradition;
- the interdisciplinary work between philosophical knowledges (of all schools) and scientific or non-scientific knowledges;
- the dialectic of reflection-interpretation between the non-philosophical and the philosophical dimension;
- the engagement of philosophy in the community, both in relation to the political, economical-juridical and social sphere;
- the collocation of the philosophical work into the dialectics of theory and practice, that is the idea of philosophy as practical theory;
- the discursive articulation of philosophy in analytic, critic and reflective degrees and registers (of discourse), which is in accordance with a methodological order disposed between explanation and comprehension, under aegis of interpretation;
- the productive dialectics between faith and reason.