Simone de Beauvoir’s Ethics of Freedom and Absolute Evil

Morgan, Anne. “Simone de Beauvoir's Ethics of Freedom and Absolute Evil,” Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 23(4): 75–89, 2008.


Simone de Beauvoir held that human experience is intrinsically ambiguous and that there are no values extrinsic to experience, but she also designated some actions as absolute evil. This essay explains how Beauvoir utilized an intrinsic absolute value to ground an action-guiding principle of freedom that justifies her notion of evil. Morgan’s analysis counters Robin May Schott’s objections that Beauvoir failed to systematically justify her notion of absolute evil and that Beauvoir shifted from a “logic of action” to a “logic of history” when she utilized the concept.