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The Symbolism of Evil is the final book in Ricoeur’s early trilogy on the will. While Freedom and Nature sets aside normative questions altogether and Fallible Man examines the question of what makes the bad will possible, here Ricoeur takes up the question of evil in its actuality. What is the nature of the will that has succumbed to evil? The question of evil resists reflection and remains inscrutable, leading Ricoeur to proceed indirectly through a study of the abundant resources contained in symbols and myths. Symbols, as Ricoeur famously says, “give rise to thought” and thereby open up a field of meanings which help to inform a philosophical reflection on evil. This hermeneutics of symbols signals an important shift in Ricoeur’s philosophical trajectory, which increasingly turns to language and the various forms of discourse which harbor multiple meanings. The contributors to this volume, edited by Scott Davidson, highlight a wide range of important themes in Ricoeur’s treatment of the symbolics of evil that resonate with current topics in contemporary philosophy and religion.
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About the Author
Scott Davidson is professor of philosophy at West Virginia University.