Sergey Zenkin 1
  • 1 Russian State University for the Humanities, 6 Miusskaya sq., GSP-3, Moscow, 125993, Russian Federation

Paul Ricœur’s “Acts of Liberation”: Between Symbol and Narrative

2014, vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 72–83 [issue contents]
Several Paul Ricœur’s texts of the 1970s and 1980s mention so-called “founding events”, “events-signs”, “events of deliverance”, “acts of liberation” or “great events of salvation”. As examples of such events, Ricœur mentions two episodes from the Holy Scriptures, the Exodus and the Resurrection. However, their religious specificity is not essential. Their meaning concerns the philosopher inasmuch as they are received by posterity, through a secular process of active hermeneutics, of interpretation by acts. The founding events generate sense by two ways, as narratives and as symbols. As narratives, they consist of intentional acts produced by human or divine persons; as symbols they form essential totalities which belong to nobody and are subjected to incessant interpretation. They imply a rupture with the past and the beginning of a new epoch. In modern political history, their role is played by revolutions, endowed with a greater “interpretability” than other founding events (concluding treaties, founding cities, promulgating laws) and may be compared only to some military victories. Two forms of subjectivity correspond to these two ways of sense-making: a narrative subjectivity, which is temporal and retrospective (according to Ricœur’s theory of narrative) and a symbolic subjectivity, tending either to the timelessness of abstract concepts or to the immersion into the immediate actuality of lived experience.
Citation: Zenkin S. (2014) «Osvoboditel'nye deyaniya» Polya Rikera: mezhdu simvolom i rasskazom [Paul Ricœur’s “Acts of Liberation”: Between Symbol and Narrative]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 13, no 2, pp. 72-83 (in Russian)
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