Paul Ricœur and the Idea of Second Naivety: Origins, Analogues, Applications


  • Áron Buzási KU Leuven



Second Naivety, Post-critical Naivety, Detour, Self-understanding, Mediation


Despite the fact that it is only rarely mentioned by Ricœur, the concept of second (or post-critical) naivety seems to express an idea that is central to his hermeneutical attitude, which is why it deserves more attention. This idea can be broadly understood as the aspiration to arrive at a mediated and post-critical (self-)understanding through “detours” provided by different critical methods such as psychoanalysis or structuralism. My article consists of three parts: first, I examine the origins of the notion of second naivety, drawing attention to the fact that both Ricœur and his precursors used the term in connection with religious symbols and faith. Then, by comparing it to analogous ideas in Ricœur’s works, I argue that the concept of second naivety can be extended to interpretation in general. Finally, I explore the possibility of a second naivety after those particular critical methods.


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