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  1. Plantinga's Free Will Defence: Critical Note.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    Some atheistic philosophers have argued that God could have created a world with free moral agents and yet absent of moral evil. Using possible world semantics, Alvin Plantinga sought to defuse this logical form of the problem of evil. In this critical note, Leslie Allan examines the adequacy of Plantinga's argument that the existence of God is logically compatible with the existence of moral evil. The veracity of Plantinga's argument turns on whether his essential use of counterfactual conditionals preserves the (...)
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  2. The Problem of Evil.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    The existence of evil, pain and suffering is considered by many philosophers to be the most vexed question concerning the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and morally perfect deity. Why would a loving God permit wanton acts of cruelty and misery on the scale witnessed throughout human history? In this essay, Leslie Allan evaluates four common theistic responses to this problem, highlighting the benefits and challenges faced by each approach. He concludes with a critical examination of a theistic defence designed (...)
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  3. The Soul-Making Theodicy: A Response to Dore.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    The soul-making theodicy seeks to explain how belief in the existence of God is compatible with the evil, pain and suffering we experience in our world. It purports to meet the problem of evil posed by non-theists by articulating a divine plan in which the occurrence of evil is necessary for enabling the greater good of character building of free moral agents. Many philosophers of religion have levelled strong objections against this theodicy. In this essay, Leslie Allan considers the effectiveness (...)
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  4. A Kantian Theodicy.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    In this paper, I present a Kantian theodicy, i.e. one based on some of the leading ideas in Kant's ethics, to the classical problem of evil and recommend it as an adequate solution to the problem of evil so understood.
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  5. Sin and Suffering.Steven M. Duncan -
    In this essay I discuss the concept of suffering, the causes of suffering, and the Christian solution to the problem of suffering. I conclude that there is no basis, within the Christian view of things, for raising the traditional problem of evil through reflection on the fact of substantial suffering in the world. I thus respectfully suggest that the problem of evil is only a problem for non-believers, who have the wrong perspective on the nature and source of suffering. (When (...)
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  6. The Problem of Despair: A Kierkegaardian Reading of the Book of Job.Richard Oxenberg - manuscript
    The Book of Job is often read as the Bible's response to theodicy's 'problem of evil.' As a resolution to the logical difficulties of this problem, however, it is singularly unsatisfying. Job's ethical protest against God is never addressed at the level of the ethical. But suggested in Job's final encounter with God is the possibility of a spiritual resolution beyond the ethical. In this paper I examine the Book of Job as a response to the spiritual problem of despair; (...)
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  7. The Problem of Evil - A Socratic Dialogue.Brent Silby - manuscript
    Epicurus asked: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” This Socratic dialogue explores a popular version of the Argument From Evil. Suitable as an introduction to the topic.
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  8. Ways Modality Could Be.Jason Zarri - manuscript
    In this paper I introduce the idea of a higher-order modal logic—not a modal logic for higher-order predicate logic, but rather a logic of higher-order modalities. “What is a higher-order modality?”, you might be wondering. Well, if a first-order modality is a way that some entity could have been—whether it is a mereological atom, or a mereological complex, or the universe as a whole—a higher-order modality is a way that a first-order modality could have been. First-order modality is modeled in (...)
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  9. If We Can’T Tell What Theism Predicts, We Can’T Tell Whether God Exists: Skeptical Theism and Bayesian Arguments From Evil.Nevin Climenhaga - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion.
    According to a simple Bayesian argument from evil, the evil we observe is less likely given theism than given atheism, and therefore lowers the probability of theism. I consider the most common skeptical theist response to this argument, according to which our cognitive limitations make the probability of evil given theism inscrutable. I argue that if skeptical theists are right about this, then the probability of theism given evil is itself largely inscrutable, and that if this is so, we ought (...)
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  10. The Proper Basicality of Belief in God and the Evil-God Challenge.Perry Hendricks - forthcoming - Religious Studies:1-8.
    The evil-god challenge is a challenge for theists to show that belief in God is more reasonable than belief in evil-god. In this article, I show that whether or not evil-god exists, belief in evil-god is unjustified. But this isn’t the case for belief in God: belief in God is probably justified if theism is true. And hence belief in God is (significantly) more reasonable than belief in evil-god, and the evil-god challenge has been answered.
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  11. Why God Allows Undeserved Horrendous Evil.Scott Hill - forthcoming - Religious Studies.
    I defend a new version of the non-identity theodicy. After presenting the theodicy, I reply to a series of objections. I then argue that my approach improves upon similar approaches in the literature.
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  12. Optimism Without Theism? Nagasawa on Atheism, Evolution, and Evil.Guy Kahane - forthcoming - Religious Studies.
    Nagasawa has argued that the suffering associated with evolution presents a greater challenge to atheism than to theism because that evil is incompatible with ‘existential optimism’ about the world—with seeing the world as an overall good place, and being thankful that we exist. I argue that even if atheism was incompatible with existential optimism in this way, this presents no threat to atheism. Moreover, it’s unclear how the suffering associated with evolution could on its own undermine existential optimism. Links between (...)
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  13. Naturalistic and Theistic Explanations of the Distribution of Suffering.Dan Linford - forthcoming - In Graham Oppy & Joseph W. Koterski (eds.), Theism and Atheism: Opposing Viewpoints in Philosophy. Cengage.
    This is a forthcoming section for the book "Theism and Atheism: Opposing Arguments in Philosophy", edited by Graham Oppy, Gregory Dawes, Evan Fales, Joseph Koterski, Mashhad Al-Allaf, Robert Fastiggi, and David Shatz. I was asked to write a brief essay on whether naturalism or theism can successfully explain the distribution of suffering in our world. Wheras another section covers the possibility that suffering is evidence against theism, my essay is concerned only with the ability for either naturalism or theism to (...)
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  14. On an Epistemic Cornerstone of Skeptical Theism: In Defense of CORNEA.Timothy Perrine - forthcoming - Sophia:1-23.
    Skeptical theism is a family of responses to arguments from evil. One important member of that family is Stephen Wykstra’s CORNEA-based criticism of William Rowe’s arguments from evil. A cornerstone of Wykstra’s approach is his CORNEA principle. However, a number of authors have criticized CORNEA on various grounds, including that it has odd results, it cannot do the work it was meant to, and it problematically conflicts with the so-called common sense epistemology. In this paper, I explicate and defend a (...)
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  15. Review of Laura Ekstrom's "God, Suffering, and The Value of Free Will". [REVIEW]Hendricks Perry - forthcoming - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
    Louise Antony calls Laura Ekstrom’s book “courageous” (backcover). I have no clue what it means for a work of philosophy to be courageous, but Ekstrom’s book is certainly good. And despite the fact that I think there are about a million problems with it, I recommend it to anyone interested in the problem of evil or skeptical theism: it's well researched and clearly argued—undergraduates as well as professional philosophers will find this book useful. (Well, this recommendation comes with one caveat: (...)
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  16. Skeptical Theism and Skeptical Atheism.J. L. Schellenberg - forthcoming - In Justin McBrayer Trent Dougherty (ed.), Skeptical Theism: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
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  17. What the Problem of Evil Properly Entails.I. Neminemus - 2022 - Social Sciences Research Network.
    It is sometimes thought that the Problem of Evil entails the inexistence of God. However, this is not the case: it only entails the inexistence of an omnipotent-benevolent god, of which the God of Classical Theism is an example. As for ‘limited’ deities such as that of process theology, or malevolent deities such as that of dystheism, the problem of evil is not a problem at all.
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  18. Poder divino y libertad creada en la modernidad temprana.David Torrijos Castrillejo - 2022 - Scripta Theologica 54:9-34.
    The article explores the modern distrust of God as a threat to human freedom. The teachings on the relationship between freedom and grace sustained by the Spanish theologian Luis de Molina have some features that could be related to this distrust. Divine providence is preserved in his system by a somewhat deterministic conception of the human psyche. Thus, freedom is not completely safeguarded but a certain suspicion about Divine power is introduced nevertheless. As an answer to these difficulties, the author (...)
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  19. Divine Hiddenness and Other Evidence.Charity Anderson & Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2021 - In Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion.
    Many people do not know or believe there is a God, and many experience a sense of divine absence. Are these (and other) “divine hiddenness” facts evidence against the existence of God? Using Bayesian tools, we investigate *evidential arguments from divine hiddenness*, and respond to two objections to such arguments. The first objection says that the problem of hiddenness is just a special case of the problem of evil, and so if one has responded to the problem of evil then (...)
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  20. Theodicy, Supreme Providence, and Semiclassical Theism.James Goetz - 2021 - Theology and Science 19 (1):42-64.
    Logical limits of omnipotence, the problem of evil, and a compelling cosmological argument suggest the position of supreme providence and the foremost creation out of nothing that coheres with the constraints of physics. The Supreme Being possesses everlasting love, perception, and force while governing the universe of probabilistic processes and freewill creatures. For example, the Supreme Being intervenes in the processes of creation by the means of synergism with freewill creatures and cannot meticulously control the created universe.
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  21. We Are Not in the Dark: Refuting Popular Arguments Against Skeptical Theism.Perry Hendricks - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2):125-134.
    Critics of skeptical theism often claim that if it (skeptical theism) is true, then we are in the dark about whether (or for all we know) there is a morally justifying for God to radically deceive us. From here, it is argued that radical skepticism follows: if we are truly in the dark about whether there is a morally justifying reason for God to radically deceive us, then we cannot know anything. In this article, I show that skeptical theism does (...)
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  22. Evaluating a New Logical Argument From Evil.Bruce Langtry - 2021 - Faith and Philosophy 38 (2):229-244.
    J. L. Schellenberg, in “A New Logical Problem of Evil,” published in The Blackwell Companion to the Problem of Evil, argues that (if God exists) God has, of necessity, a disappreciation of evil, operating at a metalevel in such a way as to give God a non-defeasible reason to rule out actualizing a world containing evil. He also argues that since God’s motive in creating the world is to share with finite beings the good that God experiences prior to creation, (...)
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  23. Vagueness and the Problem of Evil: A New Reply to van Inwagen.Luis Oliveira - 2021 - Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 44 (4):49-82.
    One of the few points of agreement between most theists and non-theists working on the problem of evil is that the existence of a perfect God is incompatible with the existence of pointless evil. In a series of influential papers, however, Peter van Inwagen has argued that careful attention to the reasoning behind this claim reveals fatal difficulties related to the Sorites Paradox. In this paper, I explain van Inwagen’s appeal to sorites reasoning, distinguish between two different arguments in his (...)
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  24. The Secular Problem of Evil: An Essay in Analytic Existentialism.Paul Prescott - 2021 - Religious Studies 57 (1):101-119.
    The existence of evil is often held to pose philosophical problems only for theists. I argue that the existence of evil gives rise to a philosophical problem which confronts theist and atheist alike. The problem is constituted by the following claims: (1) Successful human beings (i.e., those meeting their basic prudential interests) are committed to a good-enough world; (2) the actual world is not a good-enough world (i.e., sufficient evil exists). It follows that human beings must either (3a) maintain a (...)
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  25. David Hume and the Philosophy of Religion.Paul Russell - 2021 - In The Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Religion. New York, NY, USA: pp. 1-20.
    David Hume (1711-1776) is widely recognized as one of the most influential and significant critics of religion in the history of philosophy. There remains, nevertheless, considerable disagreement about the exact nature of his views. According to some, he was a skeptic who regarded all conjectures relating to religious hypotheses to be beyond the scope of human understanding – he neither affirmed nor denied these conjectures. Others read him as embracing a highly refined form of “true religion” of some kind. On (...)
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  26. Hume's Skepticism and the Problem of Atheism.Paul Russell - 2021 - In Reacsting Hume and Early Modern Philosophy: Selected Essays. New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 303-339.
    David Hume was clearly a critic of religion. It is still debated, however, whether or not he was an atheist who denied the existence of God. According to some interpretations he was a theist of some kind and others claim he was an agnostic who simply suspends any belief on this issue. This essay argues that Hume’s theory of belief tells against any theistic interpretation – including the weaker, “attenuated” accounts. It then turns to the case for the view that (...)
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  27. Irreligion and the Impartial Spectator in Smith’s Moral System.Paul Russell - 2021 - In Recasting Hume and Early Modern Philosophy. New York, NY, USA: pp. 384-402.
    A number of commentators on Smith’s philosophy have observed that the relationship between his moral theory and his theological beliefs is “exceedingly difficult to unravel.” The available evidence, as generally presented, suggests that although Smith was not entirely orthodox by contemporary standards, he has no obvious or significant irreligious commitments or orientation. Contrary to this view of things, this essay argues that behind the veneer of orthodoxy that covers Smith’s discussion in The Theory of the Moral Sentiments there are significant (...)
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  28. Do We Need a Plant Theodicy?Lloyd Strickland - 2021 - Scientia et Fides 9 (2):221-246.
    In recent decades, philosophers and theologians have become increasingly aware of the extent of animal pain and suffering, both past and present, and of the challenge this poses to God’s goodness and justice. As a result, a great deal of effort has been devoted to the discussion and development of animal theodicies, that is, theodicies that aim to offer morally sufficient reasons for animal pain and suffering that are in fact God’s reasons. In this paper, I ask whether there is (...)
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  29. Second-Personal Theodicy: Coming to Know Why God Permits Suffering by Coming to Know God Himself.Dylan Balfour - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 88 (3):287-305.
    The popularity of theodicy over the past several decades has given rise to a countermovement, “anti-theodicy”, which admonishes attempts at theodicy for various reasons. This paper examines one prominent anti-theodical objection: that it is hubristic, and attempts to form an approach to theodicy which evades this objection. To do so I draw from the work of Eleonore Stump, who provides a framework by which we can glean second-personal knowledge of God. From this knowledge, I argue that we can derive a (...)
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  30. Mark C. Murphy, God’s Own Ethics: Norms of Divine Agency and the Argument From Evil. [REVIEW]Nevin Climenhaga - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (5):587-590.
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  31. Formal Theodicy: Religious Determinism and the Logical Problem of Evil.Gesiel B. Da Silva & Fábio Bertato - 2020 - Edukacja Filozoficzna 70:93-119.
    Edward Nieznański developed two logical systems to deal with the problem of evil and to refute religious determinism. However, when formalized in first-order modal logic, two axioms of each system contradict one another, revealing that there is an underlying minimal set of axioms enough to settle the questions. In this article, we develop this minimal system, called N3, which is based on Nieznański’s contribution. The purpose of N3 is to solve the logical problem of evil through the defeat of a (...)
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  32. The Challenge of Evolution to Religion.Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz - 2020 - Cambridge University Press.
    This Element focuses on three challenges of evolution to religion: teleology, human origins, and the evolution of religion itself. First, religious worldviews tend to presuppose a teleological understanding of the origins of living things, but scientists mostly understand evolution as non-teleological. Second, religious and scientific accounts of human origins do not align in a straightforward sense. Third, evolutionary explanations of religion, including religious beliefs and practices, may cast doubt on their justification. We show how these tensions arise and offer potential (...)
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  33. Can God Promise Us a New Past? A Response to Lebens and Goldschmidt.Bogdan Faul - 2020 - Open Theology 6 (1):167-174.
    Samuel Lebens and Tyron Goldschmidt provided original theodicies, which suggest that at one time God will change the past, either by erasing/substituting the sins of humans or erasing the whole entirety of evils. Both theodicies imply the idea that God can completely change the past without leaving any traces. In this paper, I argue that Lebens’ and Goldschmidt’s preferred model, which they call the scene-changing theory, is problematic. First, its complex metaphysical foundation could be replaced with presentism (roughly, the view (...)
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  34. The Epistemology of Theistic Philosophers’ Reactions to the Problem of Evil.Bryan Frances - 2020 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 94 (4):547-572.
    I first argue that, contrary to many atheistic philosophers, there is good reason to think the typical theistic philosopher’s retaining of her theism when faced with the Problem of Evil is comparatively epistemically upstanding even if both atheism is true and the typical theistic philosopher has no serious criticism of the atheist’s premises in the PoE argument. However, I then argue that, contrary to many theistic philosophers, even if theism is true, the typical theistic philosopher has no good non-theistic reasons (...)
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  35. Antitheodicy and the Grading of Theodicies by Moral Offensiveness.James Franklin - 2020 - Sophia 59 (3):563-576.
    Antitheodicy objects to all attempts to solve the problem of evil. Its objections are almost all on moral grounds—it argues that the whole project of theodicy is morally offensive. Trying to excuse God’s permission of evil is said to deny the reality of evil, to exhibit gross insensitivity to suffering, and to insult the victims of grave evils. Since antitheodicists urge the avoidance of theodicies for moral reasons, it is desirable to evaluate the moral reasons against theodicies in abstraction from (...)
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  36. Skeptical Theism Proved.Perry Hendricks - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (2):264-274.
    Skeptical theism is a popular response to arguments from evil. Many hold that it undermines a key inference often used by such arguments. However, the case for skeptical theism is often kept at an intuitive level: no one has offered an explicit argument for the truth of skeptical theism. In this article, I aim to remedy this situation: I construct an explicit, rigorous argument for the truth of skeptical theism.
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  37. Skeptical Theism, Pro-Theism, and Anti-Theism.Perry Hendricks - 2020 - In Kirk Lougheed (ed.), Four Views on the Axiology of Theism: What Difference Does God Make? pp. 95-115.
    In this chapter, I consider personal and impersonal anti-theism and personal and impersonal pro-theism. I show that skeptical theism undermines arguments for personal anti-theism and impersonal anti-theism. Next, I show that (at least some) arguments for personal and impersonal pro-theism are not undermined by skeptical theism. This throws a wrench in debates about the axiology of theism: if skeptical theism is true, then it is very difficult to establish certain positions in answer to the axiological question about God.
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  38. Skeptical Theism Unscathed: Why Skeptical Objections to Skeptical Theism Fail.Perry Hendricks - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1):43-73.
    Arguments from evil purport to show that some fact about evil makes it (at least) probable that God does not exist. Skeptical theism is held to undermine many versions of the argument from evil: it is thought to undermine a crucial inference that such arguments often rely on. Skeptical objections to skeptical theism claim that it (skeptical theism) entails an excessive amount of skepticism, and therefore should be rejected. In this article, I show that skeptical objections to skeptical theism have (...)
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  39. What Are the Odds That Everyone is Depraved?Scott Hill - 2020 - American Philosophical Quarterly 57 (3):299-308.
    Why does God allow evil? One hypothesis is that God desires the existence and activity of free creatures but He was unable to create a world with such creatures and such activity without also allowing evil. If Molinism is true, what probability should be assigned to this hypothesis? Some philosophers claim that a low probability should be assigned because there are an infinite number of possible people and because we have no reason to suppose that such creatures will choose one (...)
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  40. God, Horrors, and Our Deepest Good.Bruce Langtry - 2020 - Faith and Philosophy 37 (1):77-95.
    J.L. Schellenberg argues that since God, if God exists, possesses both full knowledge by acquaintance of horrific suffering and also infinite compassion, the occurrence of horrific suffering is metaphysically incompatible with the existence of God. In this paper I begin by raising doubts about Schellenberg’s assumptions about divine knowledge by acquaintance and infinite compassion. I then focus on Schellenberg’s claim that necessarily, if God exists and the deepest good of finite persons is unsurpassably great and can be achieved without horrific (...)
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  41. Review of James Sterba, Is a Good God Logically Possible?: Palgrave MacMillan, 2019. [REVIEW]Felipe Leon - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (4):1671-1678.
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  42. Sceptical Theism and the Paradox of Evil.Luis R. G. Oliveira - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):319-333.
    Given plausible assumptions about the nature of evidence and undercutting defeat, many believe that the force of the evidential problem of evil depends on sceptical theism’s being false: if evil is...
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  43. In Defence of No Best World.Daniel Rubio - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy (4):811-825.
    Recent work in the philosophy of religion has resurrected Leibniz’s idea that there is a best possible world, perhaps ours. In particular, Klaas Kraay’s [2010] construction of a theistic multiverse and Nevin Climenhaga’s [2018] argument from infinite value theory are novel defenses of a best possible world. I do not think that there is a best world, and show how both Kraay and Climenhaga may be resisted. First, I argue that Kraay’s construction of a theistic multiverse can be resisted from (...)
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  44. Divine Satisficing and the Ethics of the Problem of Evil.Chris Tucker - 2020 - Faith and Philosophy 37 (1):32-56.
    This paper accomplishes three goals. First, it reveals that God’s ethics has a radical satisficing structure: God can choose a good enough suboptimal option even if there is a best option and no countervailing considerations. Second, it resolves the long-standing worry that there is no account of the good enough that is both principled and demanding enough to be good enough. Third, it vindicates the key ethical assumption in the problem of evil without relying on the contested assumption that God’s (...)
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  45. A First-Order Modal Theodicy: God, Evil, and Religious Determinism.Gesiel Borges da Silva & Fábio Bertato - 2019 - South American Journal of Logic 5 (1):49-80.
    Edward Nieznanski developed in 2007 and 2008 two different systems in formal logic which deal with the problem of evil. Particularly, his aim is to refute a version of the logical problem of evil associated with a form of religious determinism. In this paper, we revisit his first system to give a more suitable form to it, reformulating it in first-order modal logic. The new resulting system, called N1, has much of the original basic structure, and many axioms, definitions, and (...)
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  46. The Nature of Skeptical Theism: Answering Nonstandard Objections to Skeptical Theism.Perry Hendricks - 2019 - Philosophia Christi 21 (1):103-117.
    Skeptical theism is a popular response to arguments from evil. Recently, Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne, and Yoaav Isaacs have argued that the theses that ground skeptical theism are either false or limited in scope. In this article, I show that their objections rest on dubious assumptions about the nature of skeptical theism. Along the way, I develop and clarify the ambiguous parts of skeptical theism. The upshot of this is that—once the nature of skeptical theism is made clearer—it is (...)
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  47. Infinity and the Problem of Evil.John Leslie - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (2):111-117.
    God seemingly had a duty to create minds each of infinite worth through possessing God-like knowledge. People might object that God’s own infinite worth was all that was needed, or that no mind that God created could have truly infinite worth; however, such objections fail. Yet this does not generate an unsolvable Problem of Evil. We could exist inside an infinite mind that was one among endlessly many, perhaps all created by Platonic Necessity. “God” might be our name for this (...)
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  48. God's Nature and Attributes.Ide Lévi & Alejandro Pérez - 2019 - TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology 3 (2).
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  49. Personalistic Theism, Divine Embodiment, and a Problem of Evil.Chad Meister - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (2):119-139.
    One version of the problem of evil concludes that personalistic forms of theism should be rejected since the acts that one would expect a God with person-like qualities to perform, notably acts that would prevent egregious evils, do not occur. Given the evils that exist in the world, it is argued, if God exists as a person or like a person, God’s record of action is akin to that of a negligent parent. One way of responding to this “argument from (...)
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  50. How to Solve the Problem of Evil: A Deontological Strategy.Justin Mooney - 2019 - Faith and Philosophy 36 (4):442-462.
    One paradigmatic argument from evil against theism claims that, (1) if God exists, then there is no gratuitous evil. But (2) there is gratuitous evil, so (3) God does not exist. I consider three deontological strategies for resisting this argument. Each strategy restructures existing theodicies which deny (2) so that they instead deny (1). The first two strategies are problematic on their own, but their primary weaknesses vanish when they are combined to form the third strategy, resulting in a promising (...)
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1 — 50 / 205