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Lecture 6

PHIL111 13/14 WEEK 6.docx

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PHIL 111
Jon Miller

Week 6 October 15, 2013 Why Deny the Existence of God? - Evil - Lack of empirical evidence - Conceptual difficulties - Evolution - Paradoxes surrounding god - How to reconcile the testimony of religious texts with what our senses reveal - Belief in god is ultimately a matter of faith The Conclusion of Philo’s reasoning - Philo asks, “Is the world considered in general, and as it appears to us in this life, different from what a man… would, beforehand, expect from a very powerful, wise and benevolent Deity?” (p. 77rc) - Since the answer is no, it is not possible to “assert the moral attributes of the Deity, his justice, benevolence, mercy, and rectitude, to be of the same nature with these virtues in human creatures” - That’s the conclusion of Philo’s reasoning: God cannot be good in the way that humans are good - How does he reach that conclusion? The Conditions of Evil - Philo offers an analysis of the nature of evil. He says, “There seem to be four circumstances, on which depend all, or the greatest part of the ills, that molest sensible creatures” (p. 78lc) - Philo holds that four features of the world are responsible for the existence of evil o A capacity for pain o “The conducting of the world by general laws” o “The great frugality with which all powers and faculties are distributed to every particular being” o “The inaccurate workmanship of all the springs and principles of the great machine of nature” - Summing up his analysis, Philo says o “On the occurrence, then, of these four circumstances does all or the greatest part of natural evil depend. Were all living creatures incapable of pain… there must have been very little ill in comparison of what we feel at present” (p. 80rc) - These features of the world do not appear to human reason to be necessary or unavoidable - Given the foregoing, Philo concludes that God cannot exist as the conventional theist maintains Argument on Omnibenevolence (Argument
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