On ‘Direct' and ‘Indirect' Social Ontologies: Rethinking Castoriadis, Ricoeur, and the Human Condition

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 45 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Suzi ADAMS, Flinders University, Australia
This paper considers the respective social ontologies of Cornelius Castoriadis and Paul Ricoeur. Neither thinker regarded himself as a sociologist, yet each offers rich resources for social theory.  Both Ricoeur and Castoriadis articulated social ontologies that focused on social creativity and social imaginaries, but their theoretical frameworks were diametrically opposed. Whereas Castoriadis sought to directly grasp the mode of being of the social-historical and social imaginary significations, Ricoeur was convinced that only an indirect grasp of being and the social world was possible. This paper argues that their discrepant understandings of social meaning and human creation as part of their overall approach to the human condition  lies at the root of this opposition, and it concludes by seeking to build points of contact between them.