La philosophie ricœurienne de l’esthétique entre poétique et éthique


  • Samuel Lelièvre EHESS (Paris, France)



Action, Aesthetics, Art, Criticism, Ethics, Hermeneutics, Imagination, Poetics


Ricœur’s philosophy never locates itself directly in the field of philosophical aesthetics inasmuch as philosophical aesthetics never arises as a field of major questioning and discursive development for Ricœur’s philosophy or as a field that would guide that philosophy. However, Ricœur maintains an ongoing but complex connection with aesthetics throughout his philosophical work. Here we defend the thesis that there are difficulties relating both to the complexity of Ricœur’s philosophy and to the crisis situation of aesthetics as an autonomous field of philosophical inquiry. A more direct confrontation with philosophical aesthetics, such as that developed by analytic philosophy and critical theory today, is necessary in order to be aware of this connection between Ricœur’s philosophy and aesthetics. It then appears that if Ricœur’s philosophy makes it possible to maintain a certain autonomy of the field of aesthetics inherited from Kant, it is not through developing some unlikely “Ricœurian aesthetic” but thanks to a Ricœurian philosophy of aesthetics essentially determined on three levels: 1) the connection between poetics and aesthetics within a philosophy of imagination, 2) the connection between criticism and hermeneutics with regard the notions of text and distanciation, 3) the connection between ontology and communication that summarizes the two previous steps by combining phenomenological, analytic and critical perspectives. Thus it can be assumed that this autonomy of the field of aesthetics is possible only at a horizon of meaning determined by Ricœur’s philosophical anthropology: at the axiological level, the field of aesthetics differs upstream from the field of poetics and downstream from the field of ethics; at the ontological level, Ricœur’s philosophy of aesthetics concerns a region that is both intermediate between and congruent to those treated by Ricœur’s philosophy of imagination and by Ricœur’s philosophy of action.