Ethical Assumptions and Implications of Hermeneutic Practice as Practical Wisdom

Luiz Rohden


The goal of this paper is to justify the view that hermeneutical practice as a philosophical proposal cannot be reduced to the extraction of hidden meanings or the explication of text structures but instead contains ethical assumptions and implications. Following Ricœur’s work, I will show that literary texts are part of ethics insofar as they create different mental experiments about ideas and values. I will show that the interpretation of literary texts, woven by the free play of imagination, constitutes a practice in which readers have the possibility of reconfiguring their way of looking at the world and acting. The reading of literature is an exercise of practical wisdom by enabling readers to rehearse and enable the implementation of the good life in just institutions. To achieve the paper’s goal, I initially discuss ethical assumptions present in literary texts. I then develop Ricœur’s notion of hermeneutics as used for the interpretation of literature. Finally, I propose several ethical implications resulting from the hermeneutical practice that is related to literary texts.


Hermeneutics; Imagination; Ethics; Literature; Practical Wisdom

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Copyright (c) 2020 Luiz Rohden

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