On Necessary Gratuitous Evils

European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 12 (3):117-135 (2020)
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The standard position on moral perfection and gratuitous evil makes the prevention of gratuitous evil a necessary condition on moral perfection. I argue that, on any analysis of gratuitous evil we choose, the standard position on moral perfection and gratuitous evil is false. It is metaphysically impossible to prevent every gratuitously evil state of affairs in every possible world. No matter what God does—no matter how many gratuitously evil states of affairs God prevents—it is necessarily true that God coexists with gratuitous evil in some world or other. Since gratuitous evil cannot be eliminated from metaphysical space, the existence of gratuitous evil presents no objection to essentially omnipotent, essentially omniscient, essentially morally perfect, and necessarily existing beings.

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Mike Almeida
University of Texas at San Antonio


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