The problems [of Paul Ricoeur's symbols] of evil Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8p58ph83k

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  • In the early part of his philosophical career, Paul Ricoeur worked out a general theory of symbols which he illustrated with the symbols of evil. He subsequently explained this theory in several essays (his final major statement on symbols can be found in Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning [1976]. After 1976, he did not return to the subject again). Ricoeur's principle work on symbols, which appears in The Symbolism of Evil (1960), was the result of a larger work on the will, in which he explained his philosophy of the voluntary and the involuntary, fallibility, and, finally, fault, expressed "symbolically." Ricoeur's interest in the will and in fault is philosophical (rather than theological). This paper presents a summary of the larger issues raised by the critics about Ricoeur's theory of symbols and work on the symbols of evil, then closely analyzes the symbols defilement, sin, and guilt (the symbols of evil in The Symbolism of Evil), questioning their structures, their contents, and ultimately their validity and relevance to philosophy, and claiming that, by elaborating on the rather simple metaphors of stain, errancy, and burden, Ricoeur creates a new symbolism of fault rather than elucidates an existing one.
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