An Ethics Of Discomfort: Supplementing Ricœur On Translation

Lisa Foran


This article compares Paul Ricoeur and Jacques Derrida on the theme of translation and in particular the ethical implications of the different ways in which they approach the untranslatable.  While Ricoeur’s account of translation as linguistic hospitality does offer a model for an ethical encounter with the other, I argue that this account does not go far enough. My central claim is that Ricoeur’s treatment of translation overemphasizes the movement of appropriation and integration.  While it may not be his intention, this emphasis could lead to a certain kind of complacency that would challenge the ethical claims Ricoeur makes in favour of translation as a paradigm.  I propose to supplement Ricoeur’s hospitality with Derrida’s untranslatable, in order to create a situation of constant discomfort thereby guarding against ethical complacency.


Ricoeur, Derrida, translation, ethics

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Copyright (c) 2015 Lisa Foran

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ISSN 2156-7808 (online)