The free-will defence: Evil and the moral value of free will

Religious Studies 45 (4):395-415 (2009)
One version of the free-will argument relies on the claim that, other things being equal, a world in which free beings exist is morally preferable to a world in which free beings do not exist (the 'value thesis'). I argue that this version of the free-will argument cannot support a theodicy that should alleviate the doubts about God's existence to which the problems of evil give rise. In particular, I argue that the value thesis has no foundation in common intuitions about morality. Without some sort of intuitive support, the value thesis lacks the resources to serve as the foundation for a theodicy that addresses the powerful intuition, which affects believers and non-believers alike, that a perfect God would not allow so much evil.
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DOI 10.2307/27750032
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