Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

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PREFACE

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pp. ix-x

When I was a student at Syracuse University, I once told an acquaintance in the English Department that my dissertation was on the problem of evil. I recall her reply as though I heard it yesterday: "The problem of evil? Isn't that old hat? I mean, what more can be said after Ivan Karamazov?" Apparently, quite a bit. Barry Whitney recently published a bibliography of...

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INTRODUCTION: THE EVIDENTIAL ARGUMENT FROM EVIL

DANIEL HOWARD-SNYDER

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pp. xi-xx

Evil, it is often said, poses a problem for theism, the view that there is an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, "God," for short. This problem is usually called "the problem of evil." But this is a bad name for what philosophers study under that rubric. They study what is better thought of as an argument, or a host of arguments, rather than a problem...

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1. The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism

WILLIAM L. ROWE

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pp. 1-11

This chapter is concerned with three interrelated questions.The first is: Is there an argument for atheism based on the existence of evil that may rationally justify someone in being an atheist? To this first question I give an affirmative answer and try to support that answer by setting forth a strong argument for atheism based on the existence of evil.1 The second question...

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2. Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists

PAUL DRAPER

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pp. 12-29

I will argue in this paper that our knowledge about pain and pleasure creates an epistemic problem for theists. The problem is not that some proposition about pain and pleasure can be shown to be both true and logically inconsistent with theism. Rather, the problem is evidential A statement reporting the observations and testimony upon which our knowledge about...

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3. Some Major Strands of Theodicy

RICHARD SWINBURNE

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pp. 30-48

God is by definition omnipotent and perfectly good. Yet manifestly there is evil of many diverse kinds. It would appear that an omnipotent being can prevent evil if he tries to do so, and that a perfectly good being will try. The existence of such evil appears, therefore, to be inconsistent with the existence of God, or at least to render it improbable.1 Theodicy is the enterprise of showing that appearances are misleading: that evils of the kind and...

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4. Aquinas on the Sufferings of Job

ELEONORE STUMP

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pp. 49-68

Aquinas wrote commentaries on five books of the Old Testament (Psalms, Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations), two Gospels (Matthew and John), and the Pauline epistles. These biblical commentaries have not received the same sort of attention as some of his other works, such as the Summa theologiae or the Summa contra gentiles, but they are a treasure trove of philosophy and theology.1 The commentary on Job in particular is one of Aquinas's...

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5. Epistemic Probability and Evil

ALVIN PLANTINGA

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pp. 69-96

The amount and variety of evil in our world has often baffled and perplexed believers in God. Evil can occasion deeper problems: faced with the shocking concreteness of a particularly appalling example of evil in his own life or the life of someone close to him, a believer may find himself tempted to take toward God an attitude he himself deplores; such evil can incline him...

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6. The Inductive Argument from Evil and the Human Cognitive Condition

WILLIAM P. ALSTON

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pp. 97-125

The recent outpouring of literature on the problem of evil has materially advanced the subject in several ways. In particular,, a clear distinction has been made between the "logical" argument against the existence of God ( "atheological argument") from evil, which attempts to show that evil is logically incompatible with the existence of God? and the "inductive" ("empirical/'"probabilistic") argument, which contents itself with the claim that evil constitutes...

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7. Rowe's Noseeum Arguments from Evil

STEPHEN JOHN WYKSTRA

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pp. 126-150

In the Midwest we have "noseeums"—tiny flies which, while having a painful bite, are so small you "no see 'um." We also have Rowe's inductive argument for atheism. Rowe holds that the theistic God would allow suffering only if doing so serves some outweighing good. But is there some such good for every instance of suffering? Rowe thinks not. There is much suffering, he...

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8. The Problem of Evil, the Problem of Air, and the Problem of Silence

PETER VAN INWAGEN

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pp. 151-174

It used to be widely held that evil—which for present purposes we may identify with undeserved pain and suffering—was incompatible with the existence of God: that no possible world contained both God and evil. So far as I am able to tell, this thesis is no longer defended. But arguments for the following -weaker thesis continue to be very popular: Evil (...

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9. The SkepticalTheist

PAUL DRAPER

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pp. 175-192

The term skeptical theist is apt to be misleading. If one can resist the temptation to dismiss it as oxymoronic, then one is likely to associate it with fideism. But the theists whose views I intend to discuss are not fideists and accordingly do not defend theism by defending a general skepticism about human cognitive powers. Rather, their skepticism is supposed to extend only...

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10. Defenseless

BRUCE RUSSELL

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pp. 193-205

...They are evidential because of the nature of the arguments given for the second premise. Those arguments are probabilistic or epistemic in nature, starting from the fact that even after careful reflection we see no morally sufficient reason for God to allow certain kinds, instances, amounts, or patterns of suffering or from that suffering itself. And they move from those...

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11. Some Difficulties in Theistic Treatments of Evil

RICHARD M. GALE

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pp. 206-218

That the world contains the evils it does obviously poses a challenge to traditional theism. For some it is logical in that a contradiction is supposed to be deducible from the coexistence of God and evil. Almost everyone now believes that adequate defenses have been devised to neutralize this challenge, a defense being a description of a possible world containing both God and the evils in question. In such a world God has a morally exonerating excuse for...

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12. Reflections on the Chapters by Draper, Russell, and Gale

PETER VAN INWAGEN

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pp. 219-243

In "The Problem of Evil, the Problem of Air, and the Problem of Silence" (chapter 8 [HAS]), I left the notion of epistemic probability at a more or less intuitive level. Reflection on Professor Draper's essay "The Skeptical Theist" in the present volume (chapter 9) and a letter from Alvin Plantinga have convinced me that the main point I was trying to make was...

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13. On Being Evidentially Challenged

ALVIN PLANTINGA

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pp. 244-261

...Pain and pleasure, says Paul Draper, constitute an evidential problem for theists.1 What precisely is the problem? The problem is not that some proposition about pain and pleasure can be shown to be both true and logically inconsistent with theism. Rather, the problem is evidential. A statement reporting the observations and testimony upon which our knowledge about pain and pleasure...

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14. The Evidential Argument from Evil: A Second Look

WILLIAM L. ROWE

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pp. 262-285

It is as misleading to speak of the evidential argument from evil as it is to speak of the cosmological argument. Just as there are distinct arguments that qualify as cosmological arguments, there are distinct arguments that qualify as evidential arguments from evil.1 My purpose here is to look again at an evidential argument from evil that I first presented in 1979.2...

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15. The Argument from Inscrutable Evil

DANIEL HOWARD-SNYDER

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pp. 286-310

I . Only those lacking moral sensibilities, or those with twisted views of providence, could fail to feel the anguish apparent in Ivan Karamazov's question. At least when most of us reflect on each of the particular horrors he describes— e.g., the boy eaten alive by the general's hunting hounds or the girl habitually beaten, thrashed, and kicked by her parents "until her body was one bruise," or some other brutal, debilitating, and undeserved...

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16. Some (Temporarily) Final Thoughts on Evidential Arguments from Evil

WILLIAM P. ALSTON

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pp. 311-332

I have been assigned the unenviable job of "clean-up hitter." The baseball metaphor, though of obvious application, can be misleading in more than one way. So far from aiming to bring the previous batters home (to their intended destination,) my efforts will be much more often directed to stranding them on the base paths. Moreover, the targets of my discussion are largely drawn from the opposing team, the members of which are bending their...

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 333-350

CONTRIBUTORS

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pp. 351-352

INDEX

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pp. 353-357