Author's Name: Maria Imelda Pastrana Nabor
Subject Area: Social Science and Humanities
Subject Other
Section Research Paper


Hermeneutics, ontology, action, language, testimony.


The core question of Ricoeur?s theory of action is “who?”: Who speaks? Who acts? Who narrates? Who is the moral subject of imputation or responsible subject of action? The reiteration of the query “who?” compensates for this dispersion of the inquiry. Here, Ricoeur explores the phenomenological examination on the categories of the utterance and the speaker. This hermeneutic tenor was assured by the dialectic of construal and elucidation. This is ensued by the capability to act and the agent, then those of narration and the narrator and finally that of the imputation of acts and that of a subject responsible for its acts. To speak, do, reckoned, and impute are the first analogon of the chains of figures of acting. The philosophy of action is an exploration of ways of speaking of oneself as an agent; ways of designating oneself verbally as the author of one?s own acts. For Ricoeur, narration is speaking par excellence, discourse and text... Moral imputation is a special kind of ascription; an attribution merging imputed action to the accountable agent. Reckoning is doing through the coherence of a narrative cohesion of life. Reckoning could be designated as the first analogon also. Ricoeur attempted to re-appropriate the Aristotelian context of being as act and possibility. Hence, the “who?” question becomes the model through which Ricoeur unfolds gradually his perspective concerning the self or human identity. The human self is not an immediate self-possession. The non-transparent self or self-construing becomes available only piecemeal through arduous endeavor of mediation. The explanatory mediation of the self is deduced from the theory of action in its diverse fields of application. Ricoeur?s accentuation on the “what?” of action by way of the “why?” is conceived as the indispensable detour or mediation to attain the identity of the agent (the “who?”).

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