Toward a Reactive Attitudes Theodicy

In Peter Furlong & Leigh Vicens (eds.), Theological Determinism: New Perspectives. Cambridge University Press. pp. 231–50 (2022)
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According to the argument from gratuitous evil, if God were to exist, then gratuitous evil wouldn’t; but gratuitous evil does exist, so God doesn’t. We can evaluate different views of divine providence with respect to the resources they are able to bring to bear when encountering this argument. By these lights, theological determinism is often seen as especially problematic: the determinist is seen as having an impoverished set of resources to draw from in her attempts to respond to the argument from gratuitous evil. In particular, there is an important resource – an appeal to free will – that many have claimed is unavailable to the determinist. I argue that the determinist does not in fact suffer from this particular resource deficit. I do so by examining some recent work on determinist responses to the problem of evil, analyzing some of the ways in which they fall short, and proposing a new response that is informed by those shortcomings. This new response is built on an appeal to the reactive attitudes.

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Garrett Pendergraft
Pepperdine University


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