The alchemy of suffering in the laboratory of the world: Vedāntic Hindu engagements with the affliction of animals

Religious Studies 59 (S1):82-95 (2023)
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Abstract

Traditionally, the problem of evil, in its various formulations, has been one of the strongest objections against perfect being theism. In the voluminous literature on this problem, the motif of evil has usually been discussed with respect to human flourishing. In recent decades more focused attention has been paid to animal suffering and the philosophical problems that such suffering poses for perfect being theists. However, this growing body of literature, in Anglo-American philosophical milieus, is largely aimed at sketching a specifically Christian or Christianity-inflected theodicy that would reconcile animal suffering with the existence of an omni-God. In contrast, there are few, if any, systematic attempts to put forth a Hindu theodicy that aims to offer morally justifiable reasons that God has for allowing animal suffering. In this article, we address this scholarly lacuna by illustrating how a Hindu perfect being theist might respond to the problem of animal suffering.

Author Profiles

Ankur Barua
Cambridge University (PhD)
Akshay Gupta
Cambridge University (PhD)

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