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Lecture 7

Philosophy lecture 7 - the arguement from evil.docx

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Western University
Philosophy 1020
John Thorp

The Argument from evil 0. Introductory digression Refuting an argument for p is not the same as arguing that not-p To say: “God exists, but the ontological argument doesn’t prove it!” is perfectly reasonable 1. The state of play We have seen four arguments in favour of the existence of God and we have considered some weakness in each of them - Ontological - Cosmological - Argument from design - Argument from miracles 2. The nature of God a) omnipotent – God is all-powerful, that is, able to do all things; or at least things that are logically possible b) omniscient – God knows all things, or at least all things that can be known c) benevolent – God is good, and benevolent to human beings, and indeed to his creation; lover The problems is….. …..these features of God, the so called “divine attributes” seem to be inconsistent with the existence of evil in the world. The argument from evil consists in showing that these divine attributes are incompatible with the existence of evil in the world. 3. Epicurus' version of the argument from evil Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world? More formally: 1. If an all-powerful and perfectly good god exists, then evil does not. 2. There is evil in the world. 3. Therefore, an all-powerful and perfectly good god does not exist. 4. Hume a) striving for survival and self-preservation b) limited powers of creatures to deal with their problems c) laws of nature d) bizarre events in nature (how come sometimes it pours and sometimes it’s a drought?) 5. Theodicy A theodicy is an attempt to show why and how the presence of evil in the world is compatible with the existence of God Three main theodicies : - divine retribution - free will defence - soul making theodicy a) divine retribution: In addition to being all-good, God is just. 1. Direct justice. The pain and suffering that people encounter is simply God's retribution for the evil that they themselves have done. Problems: seems like a sl
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