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Stump, Eleonore. Knowledge, Freedom, and the Problem of Evil
1983, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14(1): 49-58
Added by: Emily Paul

Introduction: The free-will defense successfully rebuts the claim that the presence of evil in the world is logically incompatible with God’s existence. But many people, theists as well as atheists, feel that the free-will defense leaves some of the most important questions about evil unanswered. If there is a God, the nature and quantity of evil in the world still remain a puzzle; and even if they do not support a conclusive argument, they still seem to provide strong evidence against the probability of God’s existence. In particular, natural evils such as diseases, congenital defects, earthquakes, and droughts, need to be given some plausible explanation which shows their existence to be compatible with God’s goodness. It is the problem of evil in this sense which Swinburne addresses in Chapter 11 of The Existence of God. In what follows, I will describe Swinburne’s solution and give reasons for thinking it unacceptable.

Comment: This paper is a great way to motivate the 'what about natural evils?' response to the problem of evil. It does this by responding to Swinburne, so it could be good to first set Swinburne's chapter and then see whether can students can organically anticipate some of Stump's lines of argument.

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