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Lecture 2

Philosophy 1020 Lecture 2: Sept. 25th- Leibniz.docx

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PHIL 1020
Dennis Klimchuk

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Sept. 25th- Leibniz and the Problem of Evil
Main argument: If God is who we make him out to be (all good and powerful), he
would have never chosen the world to be any other way (evil and all); this must
be the best world
God would not do anything by accident, for there must be some sufficient reason
that accounts for God’s choice in allowing evil to exist in the world
Leibniz offers a point of view that does not entertain evil, but explains it’s
potential benefits
This argument has a lot of mystery
1. Whoever does not choose the bets is lacking in power/knowledge/goodness
-the world having evil in it means that this is not the “best world” in which we
could live, so this offers the idea that God truly is not the most powerful,
knowledgeable, or good
2. God did not choose the best in creating this world (because there is evil in it)
3. Therefore, God has been lacking in power/knowledge/goodness
Leibniz’s Reply
With evil brings good (allows us to develop courage for example)
God understands free will, and with free will one can achieve the highest
goodness, but with that automatically comes evil
Conclusion: he is asking us to entertain the idea that the existence of evil is not by
itself proof that this is not the best world; sometimes the outcome that has some
loss is worth it because it brings out the greater good
The conclusion is not that suffering can bring about the greater good, he just asks
us to keep an open mind and realize that with God having these qualities, there
can still be evil
Evil may be the price of having free will, and so it is a price well paid
This reply does not want us to fully accept this concept
MAYBE: if we do not fully understand God, we do not fully understand the
concept of Good and Evil (maybe it is all good)
1. If there is more evil than good in intelligent creatures, then there is more evil than
good in the whole work of God
2. There is more evil than good in intelligent creatures
3. Therefore, there is more evil than good in the whole work of God
Leibniz’s Reply
Even though there may be evil, the good in this world is so tremendous that is
overpowers the evil
He argues that even if there were people that acted evil the power of acting good
is greater
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