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Hermeneutics of suspicion

"School of suspicion" is a phrase coined by Paul Ricœur to capture a common spirit that pervades the writings of Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche,[1] the three "masters of suspicion".[2] This school (also dubbed hermeneutics of suspicion in secondary literature) is defined as a balanced recognition and perception between "explanation" and "understanding" that validates expressions of a representation.[3]

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OverviewEdit

According to literary theorist Rita Felski, it is "a distinctively modern style of interpretation that circumvents obvious or self-evident meanings in order to draw out less visible and less flattering truths;

"[Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche] share a commitment to unmasking 'the lies and illusions of consciousness'; they are the architects of a distinctively modern style of interpretation that circumvents obvious or self-evident meanings in order to draw out less visible and less flattering truths ... Ricoeur's term has sustained an energetic after-life within religious studies, as well as in philosophy, intellectual history, and related fields."[4]

Felski also notes that "The 'hermeneutics of suspicion' is the name usually bestowed on [a] technique of reading texts against the grain and between the lines, of cataloging their omissions and laying bare their contradictions, of rubbing in what they fail to know and cannot represent."[5] In that sense, it can be seen as being related to ideology critique.

TypesEdit

Ruthellen Josselson explains that "Ricoeur distinguishes between two forms of hermeneutics: a hermeneutics of faith which aims to restore meaning to a text and a hermeneutics of suspicion which attempts to decode meanings that are disguised."[6]

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