So, for the past couple of weeks I've been reading books and articles by/about Paul Ricoeur, and I've decided I want to try and present a paper at this year's Pacific NW regional AAR conference. I've worked on a brief paper proposal, and today I sent it to the chairs of the "theology and philosophy of religion section." Now, I wait to hear whether my proposal has been accepted or not... in the meantime, here's what I'm proposing (which means I have to start figuring out what I want to say about it! hehe!)
Tentative proposal title: "Disproportionality: Viewing the Problem of Evil through Ricoeur's Concept of Fallibility"
This paper examines and critiques the traditional Christian ("Augustinian") account of original or primordial sin/evil through the lens of Ricoeur's concept of fallibility. Rather than condensing the origin of all sin and evil into the first willful choice of a free being felled by pride, Ricoeur's hypothesis of the "fallible man" consists of a "disproportionality" within the person, and this fallibility is the "constitutional weakness" that makes evil possible for humanity.
I will suggest that Ricoeur's view provides Christian theology with a valuable approach to the theological and philosophical problem of evil; one that mediates between Augustinian and Irenaean ideas, avoids some of the potential pitfalls that plague traditional theodicies, and coheres more effectively to our current understanding of persons and of the natural world.