The Aporetics of Temporality and the Poetics of the Will


  • Roger W. H. Savage University of California at Los Angeles, USA



Hermeneutics, Time, Temporality, Poetics, Narrativity, Mimesis, Philosophical Anthropology


The aporias of time that Paul Ricœur identifies in the conclusion to his three-volume Time and Narrative offer a fecund starting-point from which to consider how the poetics of narrativity figures in a philosophy of the will. By setting the poetics of narrativity against the aporetics of temporality, Ricoeur highlights the narrative art’s operative power in drawing together incidents and events in answer to time’s dispersion across the present, the past, and the future. In turn, the confession of the limits of narrative opens the way to a broader consideration of the idea of the unity of history in the absence of a meta-historical plot. This idea calls for a reflection on the ethical and political imperative of making freedom a reality for all. By taking the theory of freedom’s actualization as a touchstone, I argue that the vision of a reconciled humanity that for Ricœur is the intended object of the poetics of the will acquires the force of a directive idea. The capacity to refashion the real from within thus proves to be decisive for drawing out the connection between the aporetics of temporality, the poetics of narrativity, and Ricœur’s philosophical anthropology.

Author Biography

Roger W. H. Savage, University of California at Los Angeles, USA

Roger W. H. Savage is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles specializing in hermeneutics, aesthetics, and politics. His books include Paul Ricoeur’s Philosophical Anthropology as Hermeneutics of Liberation: Freedom, Justice, and the Power of Imagination, Hermeneutics and Music Criticism and Music, Time, and Its Other: Aesthetic Reflections on Finitude, Temporality, and Alterity. He also edited Paul Ricoeur in the Age of Hermeneutical Reason: Poetics, Praxis, and Critique and Paul Ricoeur and the Lived Body.



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