Metaphor as Lexis: Ricoeur on Derrida on Aristotle




Metaphor, Syntax, Meaning, Reference, Lexis


Both Derrida and Ricœur address philosophy’s relation to metaphor, and both take Aristotle as their starting points. However, though Ricœur’s The Rule of Metaphor is largely a response to Derrida’s “White Mythology,” Ricœur seems to pass right over Derrida’s critically important interpretation of Aristotle. In this essay, I dispel concerns that Ricœur may have been intellectually irresponsible in his engagement with Derrida on this point, and I demonstrate how Study 1 makes better sense as a detailed response to Derrida.

Author Biography

Sean Donovan Driscoll, Boston College

Sean Driscoll is a graduate student at Boston College. He works in Ancient Greek philosophy of language and metaphysics, medieval philosophy, continental philosophy, and environmental ethics. 


Jacques Derrida, “La Mythologie Blanche,” Marges de la Philosophie (Paris: Les éditions de minuit, 1972).

Jacques Derrida, “White Mythology,” Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1972).

Jean-Claude Monod, “La mise en question contemporaine du paradigme aristotélicien — et ses limites,” Archives de Philosophie 70.4 (2007): 535-558.

Bernard Harrison, “‘White Mythology’ Revisited: Derrida and His Critics on Reason and Rhetoric,” Critical Inquiry 25.3 (1999).

Rodolphe Gasché, “On ‘Tropic’ Movements and Syntactic Resistance in Derrida’s White Mythology, International Yearbook for Hermeneutics 13 (2014).

Leonard Lawlor, “Dialectic and Iterability: The Confrontation between Paul Ricoeur and Jacques Derrida,” Philosophy Today 32.3 (1988).

Leonard Lawlor, “A Little Daylight: A reading of Derrida’s ‘White Mythology,’” Man and World 24 (1991).

Paul Ricoeur, The Rule of Metaphor: Multi-Disciplinary Studies of the Creation of Meaning in Language, trans. Robert Czerny (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979).

Stephen Halliwell, The Aesthetics of Mimesis: Ancient Texts and Modern Problems (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2002), 374-376.