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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 - manuscript
    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. Divine Hiddenness and Other Evidence.Charity Anderson & Jeffrey Sanford Russell - forthcoming - 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. Vagueness and the Problem of Evil: A New Reply to van Inwagen.Luis Oliveira - 2021 - Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 44.
    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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. The Nature of Skeptical Theism: Answering 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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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. Divine Intentions and the Problem of Evil.Justin Mooney - 2019 - Religious Studies 55 (2):1-20.
    I develop a model of providence on which God brings about good states of affairs by means of evil states of affairs, but without intending the latter. The model's key ingredient is a backward-looking counterpart of the distinction between intended and merely foreseen consequences of an action: namely, a distinction between intended and merely foreseen means to an end. The model enables greater-good theodicies to avoid worries about whether a perfect being could intend evil.
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  37. 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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  38. Skeptical Theism and Morriston’s Humean Argument From Evil.Timothy Perrine - 2019 - Sophia 58 (2):115-135.
    There’s a growing sense among philosophers of religion that Humean arguments from evil are some of the most formidable arguments against theism, and skeptical theism fails to undermine those arguments because they fail to make the inferences skeptical theists criticize. In line with this trend, Wes Morriston has recently formulated a Humean argument from evil, and his chief defense of it is that skeptical theism is irrelevant to it. Here I argue that skeptical theism is relevant to Humean arguments. To (...)
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  39. Evidence for Intelligent Extraterrestrials is Evidence Against the Existence of God.Samuel Ruhmkorff - 2019 - Think 18 (53):79-84.
    The recent explosion in the discovery of exoplanets and our incipient ability to detect atmospheric biomarkers recommend reflection on the conceptual implications of discovering – or not discovering – extrasolar life. I contend that evidence for intelligent extraterrestrial life is evidence against the existence of God, because if there are intelligent extraterrestrials, there are likely to be evils in the universe even greater than those found on Earth. My reasoning is based on Richard Gott's Copernican Principle, which holds that in (...)
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  40. The Copernican Principle, Intelligent Extraterrestrials, and Arguments From Evil.Samuel Ruhmkorff - 2019 - Religious Studies 55:297-317.
    The physicist Richard Gott defends the Copernican principle, which claims that when we have no information about our position along a given dimension among a group of observers, we should consider ourselves to be randomly located among those observers in respect to that dimension. First, I apply Copernican reasoning to the distribution of evil in the universe. I then contend that evidence for intelligent extraterrestrial life strengthens four important versions of the argument from evil. I remain neutral regarding whether this (...)
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  41. La providencia en santo Tomás de Aquino.David Torrijos-Castrillejo - 2019 - Revista Española de Teología 79:419-454.
    According to Aquinas, divine omniscience, omnipotence and providence, do not contradict the existence of either true contingency in the natural world or freedom but, on the contrary, they support them. In short, the two peculiarities of the doctrine of providence in St. Thomas here exposed are: first, that God's will is the ultimate foundation of all contingency (and not merely the deficiency of secondary causes); second, that the divine causality cannot be reduced to any of the two groups of created (...)
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  42. Infinite Value and the Best of All Possible Worlds.Nevin Climenhaga - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):367-392.
    A common argument for atheism runs as follows: God would not create a world worse than other worlds he could have created instead. However, if God exists, he could have created a better world than this one. Therefore, God does not exist. In this paper I challenge the second premise of this argument. I argue that if God exists, our world will continue without end, with God continuing to create value-bearers, and sustaining and perfecting the value-bearers he has already created. (...)
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  43. Plantinga's Defence and His Theodicy Are Incompatible.Richard Brian Davis & W. Paul Franks - 2018 - In KIaas Kraay (ed.), Does God Matter? Essays on the Axiological Consequences of Theism. New York: Routledge. pp. 203–223.
    In this paper, we attempt to show that if Plantinga’s free will defence succeeds, his O Felix Culpa theodicy fails. For if every creaturely essence suffers from transworld depravity, then given that Jesus has a creaturely essence (as we attempt to show), it follows that Incarnation and Atonement worlds cannot be actualized by God, in which case we have anything but a felix culpa.
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  44. How To Be a Skeptical Theist and a Commonsense Epistemologist.Perry Hendricks - 2018 - Faith and Philosophy 35 (3):345-355.
    Trent Dougherty has argued that commonsense epistemology and skeptical theism are incompatible. In this paper, I explicate Dougherty’s argument, and show that (at least) one popular form of skeptical theism is compatible with commonsense epistemology.
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  45. Sceptical Theism and the Evil-God Challenge.Perry Hendricks - 2018 - Religious Studies 54 (4):549-561.
    This article is a response to Stephen Law's article ‘The evil-god challenge’. In his article, Law argues that if belief in evil-god is unreasonable, then belief in good-god is unreasonable; that the antecedent is true; and hence so is the consequent. In this article, I show that Law's affirmation of the antecedent is predicated on the problem of good (i.e. the problem of whether an all-evil, all-powerful, and all-knowing God would allow there to be as much good in the world (...)
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  46. Theism and the Criminalization of Sin.Jeremy Koons - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 10 (1):163-187.
    The free will theodicy places significant value on free will: free will is of such substantial value, that God’s gift of free will to humans was justified, even though this gift foreseeably results in the most monstrous of evils. I will argue that when a state criminalizes sin, it can restrict or eliminate citizens’ exercise of metaphysical free will with respect to choosing to partake in or refrain from these activities. Given the value placed on free will in the free (...)
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  47. An All Too Radical Solution to the Problem of Evil: A Reply to Harrison.Dan Linford - 2018 - Sophia 57 (1):157-171.
    Gerald Harrison has recently argued the evidential problem of evil can be resolved if we assume the moral facts are identical to God’s commands or favorings. On a theistic metaethics, the moral facts are identical to what God commands or favors. Our moral intuitions reflect what God commands or favors for us to do, but not what God favors for Herself to do. Thus, on Harrison’s view, while we can know the moral facts as they pertain to humans, we cannot (...)
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  48. Problems of Evil.Graham Oppy - 2018 - In Nick Trakakis (ed.), The Problem of Evil: Eight Views in Dialogue. Oxford, UK: pp. 68-80.
    This paper is a very broad-brush introduction to my way of thinking about problems of evil. While I note some of the places in which my views are controversial, I attempt neither justification nor defence. I say little about arguments from evil; I have had plenty to say about this elsewhere. I begin with an account of worldviews, and the proper ways to go about comparing and assessing worldviews. I argue that many theorists—both theists and naturalists—greatly over-estimate the significance of (...)
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  49. The Problem of Religious Evil: Does Belief in God Cause Evil?Lloyd Strickland - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 84 (2):237-250.
    Daniel Kodaj has recently developed a pro-atheistic argument that he calls “the problem of religious evil.” This first premise of this argument is “belief in God causes evil.” Although this idea that belief in God causes evil is widely accepted, certainly in the secular West, it is sufficiently problematic as to be unsuitable as a basis for an argument for atheism, as Kodaj seeks to use it. In this paper I shall highlight the problems inherent in it in three ways: (...)
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  50. Does God Have the Moral Standing to Blame?Patrick Todd - 2018 - Faith and Philosophy 35 (1):33-55.
    In this paper, I introduce a problem to the philosophy of religion – the problem of divine moral standing – and explain how this problem is distinct from (albeit related to) the more familiar problem of evil (with which it is often conflated). In short, the problem is this: in virtue of how God would be (or, on some given conception, is) “involved in” our actions, how is it that God has the moral standing to blame us for performing those (...)
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