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Skeptical theism

Philosophy Compass 5 (7):611-623 (2010)

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  1. God and Gratuitous Evil (Part I).Klaas J. Kraay - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (12):905-912.
    In contemporary analytic philosophy, the problem of evil refers to a family of arguments that attempt to show, by appeal to evil, that God does not exist. Some very important arguments in this family focus on gratuitous evil. Most participants in the relevant discussions, including theists and atheists, agree that God is able to prevent all gratuitous evil and that God would do so. On this view, of course, the occurrence of even a single instance of gratuitous evil falsifies theism. (...)
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  • Scepticism About the Argument From Divine Hiddenness.Justin P. Mcbrayer & Philip Swenson - 2012 - Religious Studies 48 (2):129 - 150.
    Some philosophers have argued that the paucity of evidence for theism — along with basic assumptions about God's nature — is ipso facto evidence for atheism. The resulting argument has come to be known as the argument from divine hiddenness. Theists have challenged both the major and minor premises of the argument by offering defences. However, all of the major, contemporary defences are failures. What unites these failures is instructive: each is implausible given other commitments shared by everyone in the (...)
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  • On the Rationality of Positive Mysterianism.James N. Anderson - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 83 (3):291-307.
    In Paradox in Christian Theology I argued that the Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation are paradoxical—that is, they appear to involve implicit contradictions—yet Christians can still be rational in affirming and believing those doctrines. Dale Tuggy has characterized my theory of theological paradox as a form of “positive mysterianism” and argues that the theory “faces steep epistemic problems, and is at best a temporarily reasonable but ultimately unsustainable stance.” After summarizing my proposed model for the rational affirmation (...)
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  • The Moral Skepticism Objection to Skeptical Theism.Stephen Maitzen - 2013 - In Justin McBrayer & Daniel Howard-Snyder (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to the Problem of Evil. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 444--457.
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  • Reconsidering the Parent Analogy: Unfinished Business for Skeptical Theists.Trent Dougherty - 2012 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 72 (1):17-25.
    Skeptical theism has as its foundation the thesis that if God permits evil, his reasons for doing so will likely be beyond our ken. The only defense given for this thesis is the Parent Analogy. There is in the literature only one defense of this use of the Parent Analogy and it has never been confronted. I examine it and expose serious flaws, thus exposing a crack in the very foundation of skeptical theism.
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  • Skeptical Theism and Divine Permission - A Reply to Anderson.John Danaher - 2014 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 75 (2):101-118.
    Skeptical theism (ST) may undercut the key inference in the evidential argument from evil, but it does so at a cost. If ST is true, then we lose our ability to assess the all things considered (ATC) value of natural events and states of affairs. And if we lose that ability, a whole slew of undesirable consequences follow. So goes a common consequential critique of ST. In a recent article, Anderson has argued that this consequential critique is flawed. Anderson claims (...)
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  • Are Skeptical Theists Really Skeptics? Sometimes Yes and Sometimes No.Justin P. McBrayer - 2012 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 72 (1):3-16.
    Skeptical theism is the view that God exists but, given our cognitive limitations, the fact that we cannot see a compensating good for some instance of evil is not a reason to think that there is no such good. Hence, we are not justified in concluding that any actual instance of evil is gratuitous, thus undercutting the evidential argument from evil for atheism. This paper focuses on the epistemic role of context and contrast classes to advance the debate over skeptical (...)
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  • Why AI Doomsayers Are Like Sceptical Theists and Why It Matters.John Danaher - 2015 - Minds and Machines 25 (3):231-246.
    An advanced artificial intelligence could pose a significant existential risk to humanity. Several research institutes have been set-up to address those risks. And there is an increasing number of academic publications analysing and evaluating their seriousness. Nick Bostrom’s superintelligence: paths, dangers, strategies represents the apotheosis of this trend. In this article, I argue that in defending the credibility of AI risk, Bostrom makes an epistemic move that is analogous to one made by so-called sceptical theists in the debate about the (...)
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  • Skeptheism: Is Knowledge of God’s Existence Possible?Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (1):41-64.
    In this paper, I sketch an argument for the view that we cannot know (or have good reasons to believe) that God exists. Some call this view “strong agnosticism” but I prefer the term “skeptheism” in order to clearly distinguish between two distinct epistemic attitudes with respect to the existence of God, namely, agnosticism and skepticism. For the skeptheist, we cannot know (or have good reasons to believe) that God exists, since there can be neither conceptual (a priori) nor empirical (...)
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  • Transparency and the Desires of the Heart: A Constructive Critique of Stump’s Theodicy.Adam Green - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 4 (3):167--184.
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  • On Preferring God's Non-Existence.Klaas J. Kraay & Chris Dragos - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):157-178.
    For many centuries, philosophers have debated this question: “Does God exist?” Surprisingly, they have paid rather less attention to this distinct – but also very important – question: “Would God’s existence be a good thing?” The latter is an axiological question about the difference in value that God’s existence would make (or does make) in the actual world. Perhaps the most natural position to take, whether or not one believes in God, is to hold that it would be a very (...)
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  • Peter van Inwagen on Gratuitous Evil.Klaas J. Kraay - 2014 - Religious Studies 50 (2):217-234.
    Defenders and critics of the evidential argument from evil typically agree that if theism is true, no gratuitous evil occurs. But Peter van Inwagen has challenged this orthodoxy by urging that for all we know, given God's goals, it is impossible for God to prevent all gratuitous evil, in which case God is not required do so. If van Inwagen is right, the evidential argument from evil fails. After setting out this striking and innovative move, I examine three responses found (...)
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  • Can God Satisfice?Klaas J. Kraay - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):399-410.
    Three very prominent arguments for atheism are (1) the argument from sub-optimality, (2) the problem of no best world, and (3) the evidential argument from gratuitous evil. To date, it has not sufficiently been appreciated that several important criticisms of these arguments have all relied on a shared strategy. Although the details vary, the core of this strategy is to concede that God either cannot or need not achieve the best outcome in the relevant choice situation, but to insist that (...)
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  • Not Skeptical Theism, but Trusting Theism.John McClellan - 2016 - Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (1):233-244.
    Over the last three decades, a vast literature has amassed debating the merits of skeptical theism, and it is easy to get the sense that the rationality of theism itself depends crucially on the viability of the skeptical theist response. I will argue that this is mistaken, as there is no need for theists to maintain that non-theists are wrong to treat inscrutable evils as compelling evidence for atheism. I will show that theists instead need only take themselves to have (...)
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  • 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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  • On the Natural Law Defense and the Disvalue of Ubiquitous Miracles.Leigh C. Vicens - 2016 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 80 (1):33-42.
    In this paper I explore Peter van Inwagen’s conception of miracles and the implications of this conception for the viability of his version of the natural law defense. I argue that given his account of miraculous divine action and its parallel to free human action, it is implausible to think that God did not prevent natural evil in our world for the reasons van Inwagen proposes. I conclude by suggesting that on the grounds he provides for “epistemic humility” about modal (...)
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  • Rowe's Evidential Arguments From Evil.Graham Oppy - 2013 - In Justin McBrayer & Daniel Howard-Snyder (eds.), A Companion to the Problem of Evil. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 49-66.
    This chapter discusses the two most prominent recent evidential arguments from evil, due, respectively, to William Rowe and Paul Draper. I argue that neither of these evidential arguments from evil is successful, i.e. such that it ought to persuade anyone who believes in God to give up that belief. In my view, theists can rationally maintain that each of these evidential arguments from evil contains at least one false premise.
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  • Design Hypotheses Behave Like Skeptical Hypotheses.René van Woudenberg & Jeroen de Ridder - 2017 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 7 (2):69-90.
    _ Source: _Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 69 - 90 It is often claimed that, as a result of scientific progress, we now _know_ that the natural world displays no design. Although we have no interest in defending design hypotheses, we will argue that establishing claims to the effect that we know the denials of design hypotheses is more difficult than it seems. We do so by issuing two skeptical challenges to design-deniers. The first challenge draws inspiration from radical skepticism (...)
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  • Skeptical Theism and the 'Too-Much-Skepticism' Objection.Michael C. Rea - 2013 - In Justin P. McBrayer & Daniel Howard-Snyder (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to the Problem of Evil. Wiley. pp. 482-506.
    In the first section, I characterize skeptical theism more fully. This is necessary in order to address some important misconceptions and mischaracterizations that appear in the essays by Maitzen, Wilks, and O’Connor. In the second section, I describe the most important objections they raise and group them into four “families” so as to facilitate an orderly series of responses. In the four sections that follow, I respond to the objections.
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  • God, Geography, and Justice.Dan Linford & William Patterson - 2015 - Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism 23 (2):189-216.
    The existence of various sufferings has long been thought to pose a problem for the existence of a personal God: the Problem of Evil. In this paper, we propose an original version of POE, in which the geographic distribution of sufferings and of opportunities for flourishing or suffering is better explained if the universe, at bottom, is indifferent to the human condition than if, as theists propose, there is a personal God from whom the universe originates: the Problem of Geography. (...)
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  • Radically Insensitive Theists.Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini - 2019 - Religious Studies 55 (2):169-188.
    Sceptical theists attempt to meet the challenge to theism posed by evidential arguments from evil by appealing to the limitations of human cognition. Drawing on an exchange between William Rowe and Michael Bergmann, I argue that consistent sceptical theists must be radically insensitive to certain kinds of evidence about prima facie evils – that is, that they must endorse the claim that not even evidence of extreme and pervasive suffering could justify disbelief in theism. I show that Bergmann's attempt to (...)
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  • Ignorance, Instrumentality, Compensation, and the Problem of Evil.Marilyn McCord Adams - 2013 - Sophia 52 (1):7-26.
    Some theodicists, skeptical theists, and friendly atheists agree that God-justifying reasons for permitting evils would have to have an instrumental structure: that is, the evils would have to be necessary to secure a great enough good or necessary to prevent some equally bad or worse evil. D.Z. Phillips contends that instrumental reasons could never justify anyone for causing or permitting horrendous evils and concludes that the God of Restricted Standard Theism does not exist—indeed, is a conceptual mistake. After considering Phillips’ (...)
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  • Sceptical Theism and a Lying God: Wielenberg's Argument Defended and Developed.Stephen Law - 2015 - Religious Studies 51 (1):91-109.
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