Compétences et moyens de l’homme capable à la lumière de l’incapacité


  • Ernst Wolff University of Pretoria



Capable Human, Competence, Inability, Technology, Means


Since Oneself as Another, Ricœur placed the notion of capability or of “I can” at the center of the hermeneutics of the self. While exploring the range of capabilities, the notion of capability itself nevertheless remains under-determined from a point of view that one may call “technical.” The claim that I defend in this article is that the hermeneutics of the capable human being requires a development of its technical dimension, in other words, a reflection on the competence and means related to the “I can.” To support this claim, five dimensions of incapability of the capable human being are examined, in order to assert that incapability is the practical horizon of the action of the capable human being. Subsequently, the tension between ability and inability is described as the originary finitude of the human agent. This conclusion makes it possible to demonstrate that the capable-incapable human being reveals the technicity of the human being over the entire range of social interactions.

Author Biography

Ernst Wolff, University of Pretoria

Professor in the department of Philosophy