chapter  3
16 Pages

Psychoanalysis

Ricoeur’s work on psychoanalysis immediately succeeds The Symbolism of Evil, the final part of Philosophy of the Will. It consists principally of his monumental Freud and Philosophy, supplemented by various articles published during the 1960s, most of which are collected in The Conflict of Interpretations (1969). In writing of psychoanalysis, Ricoeur is concerned almost exclusively with the works of its founder, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). His interest stems from the fact that, like hermeneutics, psychoanalysis is a method of interpretation, and, moreover, it is symbols which form the basis of the interpretations in both disciplines. These similarities notwithstanding, on the face of it it would appear that psychoanalysis and hermeneutics have completely opposing views of human life. It is Ricoeur’s task to dig beneath this superficial appearance, and reveal the hidden affinity between psychoanalysis and hermeneutics.