This is a collection in translation of essays by Paul Ricoeur which presents a comprehensive view of his philosophical hermeneutics, its relation to the views of his predecessors in the tradition and its consequences for the social sciences. The volume has three parts. The studies in the first part examine the history of hermeneutics, its central themes and the outstanding issues it has to confront. In Part II, Ricoeur's own current, constructive position is developed. A concept of the text is formulated as the implications of the theory are pursued into the domains of sociology, psychoanalysis and history. Many of the essays appear here in English for the first time; the editor's introduction brings out their background in Ricoeur's thought and the continuity of his concerns. The volume will be of great importance for those interested in hermeneutics and Ricoeur's contribution to it, and will demonstrate how much his approach offers to a number of disciplines.