Narrative identity: Transcending Existential Finitude through Narrative.
In the Circle of the Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur.

Jarosław Jakubowski 1
1 - Uniwersytet Kazimierza Wielkiego, Instytut Filozofii
2016; 17 (2):
ICID: 1224621
Article type: Original article
IC™ Value: 3.00
Abstract provided by Publisher
In Ricoeur’s view, existential finitude is delineated through both ‘external’ otherness in
relation to an existing being (the world, Others), as well as through ‘inner’ otherness (the
body itself, conscience). The interweaving of those two types of otherness, and thereby
the quintessence of existential finitude, is expressed by the figure ‘limitation of openness
to the world’. Depicting various types of limitation of openness to the world, Ricoeur argues
that a certain way of transcending it can be assigned to each of those types. Is there,
however, in line with Ricoeur’s concept, any universal way of transcending the limitation
of openness to the world which encompasses all types of limitation? There are grounds
for believing that the role of such a universal way of transcending the limitation of openness
to the world could be performed, according to Ricoeur, by vouloir dire (wanting to
say, meaning, sayability) in its most, perhaps, developed form, i.e. vouloir dire taking the
form of a narrative (the narrative in the meaning of being close to Aristotle’s notion of
mythos). Why narrative? First, the reason for the narrative allows me to look as if it were
from a distance at any limitation of openness to the world in which I participate. The narrative
prompts me to recognize the perspective world revelation precisely as the perspective
world revelation. Next, that the narrative, by revealsing newer and newer possibilities
of Being before me, induces me to modify, to a lesser or greater extent, the relationship
I establish with the world and with oneself.

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