A Living Spatial Movement of Relation. Reconceptualising Ricœur’s Oneself as Another and Heidegger’s Being and Time


  • Paul Downes Dublin City University




Diametric Space, Concentric Space, Ricœur, Heidegger, Lévi-Strauss


Beyond the disparate and mainly fleeting references to life in Ricoeur’s Oneself as Another, whether as life as power, living well and with others, or as Ricoeur’s attempt to develop a concept of embodied subjectivity as flesh, which is presumably living flesh, not dead flesh, a further and arguably primordial life principle needs emphasis, namely, living space. Ricoeur’s recognition of the vital significance of space primordiality, as a pivotal dimension that is even prior to language, offers a significant conceptual leap in Ricoeur’s later work, Oneself as Another. Ricoeur’s proposed ontology of the flesh is one dimension towards expression of an authentic phenomenology of spatiality, though not necessarily the only one. Building upon but going beyond Ricoeur, the article explores concentric and diametric spatial interplay in relation to the early Heidegger’s existential spatiality, Angst and care, as candidate living spatial movements. This proposed primordial spatial discourse re-examines Ricoeur’s conatus as power to act, and his quest for a structure of relation to the other that is not closure, separation, or diametric opposition.

Author Biography

Paul Downes, Dublin City University

Associate Professor, Psychology, School of Human Development