PHIL 2003C Final: final exam essay response examples

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PHIL 2003C
Warren Herold

1. Discuss the problem of evil, and how it constitutes an argument against the existence of God. Explain J.L. Mackies version of this argument. What types of attempts to solve the problem of the inconsistent triad work, and which types dont, according to Mackie? Explain at least two of the attempted theodicies that Mackie thinks dont work and explain Mackies reasons for thinking that they dont The problem of evil, as discussed in philosophy, focusses on the idea that, if God exists, then he is an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibevolent God, and would not allow the existence of evil in the world. So, since evil does in fact exist, it would be contradicting to conclude that such a God does too exist. J.L. Mackie responds in defense of the argument against the existence of God by claiming that the problem of evil is one of logical inconsistency. He then defends his claim with the fact that the majority of the religious beliefs are inconsistent with one another, and that is impossible for all of the following statements to be true at the same time: (1) God is omnipotent, (2) God is omniscient, (3) God is perfectly good, (4) evil exists. Mackie then claims that a good thing always eliminated evil as far as it can; so to conclude that God is all powerful and wholly good yet still allows evil to exist in the world would be inconsistent, thus constituting the inconsistent triad. In his view, the problem arises only if you believe all of the three statements given, and that the best way to attempt at solving the problem is to reject one or more of the statements above, with the first step of adding additional premises to the argument as a way of understanding and explaining its fallacies. 2. Discuss Swinburnes response to the problem of evil. What justifies the existence of evil in Swinburnes view? Explain. How does this defend theism against the problem of evil? Does it respond to concerns about particular evils, or the amount and type of evil that exists in the world? Discuss here Swinburnes claim that it is good for me to suffer evil at the hands of others, and provide a possible objection to this claim. Do you find Swinburnes overall position convincing? Why or why not? In response to the problem of evil, Swinburne first divides the concept of evil into two separate terms; natural evil and moral evil. He defines natural evils as evils produced by nature and experienced as pain and suffering, such as tornadoes, droughts, and hurricanes. Moral evils are then defined as the choices made by human beings who are moral agents and know the difference between good and evil, yet continue to do whats wrong or not doing whats right. Free will creates the necessary possibility of moral evil. By allowing such free will, God grants humans the possibility and then sets his own control aside over whether or not such moral evil occurs. This causes Swinburne to make the claim that it is not logically possible that God grants such free will and yet also ensures that we all will use it in the same way. In order to allow creatures to share in creation, He will allow them the choice of hurting and maintaining, or frustrating the divine plan, (99100). Natural processes give humans knowledge of the effects of their actions without compromising their own freedoms; so, if evil is a possibility, they must know how to allow it to occur. Natural evils also contribute to a humans freedom by allowing the possibility of choices for how to react to it. A particular natural evil gives the sufferer a choice; to react with patience or vengeance. These choices would not otherwise exist without the pains associated with natural evils. A theodicy is an
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