Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Paul Ricoeur on Code - Dictionary of Arguments

II 3
Langue/parole/code/Saussure/Ricoeur: Langue is the code - or the set of codes - on the basis of which a particular speaker produces parole as a particular message. To this main dichotomy are connected several subsidiary distinctions. A message is individual, its code is collective.
(Strongly influenced by Durkheim, Saussure considered linguistics to be a branch of sociology .) The message and the code do not belong to time in the same way.
A message is a temporal event in the succession of events which constitute the diachronic dimension of time, while the code is in time as a set of contemporaneous elements, i.e., as a synchronic system. A message is intentional; it is meant by someone.
The code is anonymous and not intended. In this sense it is unconscious, not in the sense that drives and impulses are unconscious according to Freudian metapsychology, but in the sense of a nonlibidinal structural and cultural unconscious. >Parole/Ricoeur.
II 32
Code/literature/Ricoeur: The relation between message and code is made more complex by writing in a somewhat indirect way. What I have in mind here concerns the function of literary genres in the
production of discourse as such and such a mode of discourse, whether poem, narrative, or essay.
Literary genres display some conditions which theoretically could be described without considering writing. The function of these generative devices is to produce new entities of language longer than the sentence, organic wholes irreducible to a mere addition of sentences.
(...) the specificity of these dynamic forms seems to proceed from another dichotomy than that of speaking and hearing, from the application to discourse of categories borrowed from another field, that of
II 33
practise and work. But, if the dichotomy between theory and practice is irreducible to the pair speaking-writing, writing plays a decisive role precisely in the application of the categories of practice, technique, and work to discourse. There is production when a form is applied to some matter in order to shape it. When discourse is transferred to the field of production it is also treated as a stuff to be shaped. Thanks to writing, the works of language become as self-contained as sculptures. >Literature/Ricoeur, >Writing/Ricoeur, >Speaking/Ricoeur.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Ricoeur I
Paul Ricoeur
De L’interprétation. Essai sur Sigmund Freud
German Edition:
Die Interpretation. Ein Versuch über Freud Frankfurt/M. 1999

Ricoeur II
Paul Ricoeur
Interpretation theory: discourse and the surplus of meaning Fort Worth 1976


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-05-20
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