What is ‘Radical Evil?:’ A Reading of Ricoeur on Kant and Religion (21 Pages) – Updated July 2019

Updated July 2019

Theology and Revolution — The 1839 Zurich Revolution: A Reader in the History of Theology for the Theology of History by Douglas R McGaughey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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What is ‘Radical’ Evil?:

A Reading of Ricoeur on Kant and Religion


What follows I can best describe as a “lover’s quarrel” anchored, for my part, in deep gratitude and respect.  On the one hand, I will strenuously critique Ricoeur’s reading of Kant, particularly with respect to 1) the ontological status of “radical” evil, 2) the anchoring of morality in violence, 3) Ricoeur’s “deliberative,” hence, consequentialist ethic, and 4) his limiting of religion to historical religion.  On the other hand, the “ontology” of his theory of metaphor as well as the centrality of the “productive imagination” in his theory of discourse are applauded vigorously and can be viewed as thoroughly in harmony with the “ground” of Kant’s ethical reflections, “autonomous freedom,” which will be proposed as a more comprehensive “ground” for morality, and a more adequate “ground” for understanding of religion.