This article presents a global survey of Paul Ricœur’s work which, beyond the diversity of the treated questions and matters, has in fact a deep unity. Having adopted an hermeneutic process which leads him to defend a theory of the narrative identity giving the concept of person of the French Personalists a philosophic foundation, Paul Ricœur proposes a coherent social philosophy which transcends the trationnal opposition between liberalism and socialism.
In accordance with the hermeneutic approach underlying the works of Charles Taylor, we propose to follow the thread of his argumentation in Sources of the Self. This book is essential for economists because it allows them to question, and even to limit, the validity of the tools they traditionally use when addressing the problems of social justice.
The aim of this paper is to identify the conditions (and limitations) of the extension of the hermeneutic paradigm to economic science. The discussion focuses on the project that looks for an epistemological matrix capable of countering the positivist ambitions of neoclassical economists in the textual sciences. Rather than explaining market mechanisms based on the model of natural sciences to identify principles, we must understand their meaning, based on the model of a text that must be interpreted. The price to pay for this epistemological extension is to sacrifice the explanatory part of economic science and the place of institutions.