Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

A Companion to Ricoeur's The Symbolism of Evil


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.

Publisher Name

Rowman & Littlefield

Publisher Location

Lanham MD






Author Posting © Rowman & Littlefield, 2020. All rights reserved. Please contact the publisher for permission to copy, distribute or reprint.The chapter was published in A Companion to Ricoeur's the Symbolism of Evil, edited by Scott Davidson, Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2020. Reproduced by permission Rowman & Littlefield's-The-Symbolism-of-Evil