Luis Oliveira. Skeptical Theism and the Paradox of Evil
2019, Australasian Journal of Philosophy
Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Luis Oliveira
Abstract: Given plausible assumptions about the nature of evidence and undercutting defeat, many believe that the force of the evidential problem of evil depends on sceptical theism being false: if evil is evidence against God, then seeing no justifying reason for some particular instance of evil must be evidence for it truly being pointless. I think this dialectic is mistaken. In this paper, after drawing a lesson about fallibility and induction from the preface paradox, I argue that the force of the evidential problem of evil is compatible with sceptical theism being true. More exactly, I argue that the collection of apparently pointless evil in the world provides strong evidence for there being truly pointless evil, despite the fact that seeing no justifying reason for some particular instance of evil is no evidence whatsoever for it truly being pointless. I call this result the paradox of evil.
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Comment: This is a good piece for a class discussing the problem of evil. The progression of instruction on this topic typically proceeds through the logical problem of evil, then the free will defense as a response, then the inductive problem of evil, then skeptical theism as a response. This paper continues the discussion past that typical end point.