Naturalistic Ethics and the Argument from Evil

Faith and Philosophy 8 (3):368-379 (1991)
Philosophical naturalism is a cluster of views and impulses typically taken to include atheism, physicalism, radical empiricism or naturalized epistemology, and some sort of relativism, subjectivism or nihilism about morality. I argue that a problem arises when the naturalist offers the argument from evil for atheism. Since the argument from evil is a moral argument, it cannot be effectively deployed by anyone who holds the denatured ethical theories that the naturalist typically holds. In the context of these naturalistic ethical theories, the argument from evil typically fails to provide good reason for either the naturalist or the theist to disbelieve in the God of theism. This does not prove that naturalism is false, or that the argument from evil is unsound, but rather that certain naturalists’ use of the argument has been misguided
Keywords argument from evil  atheism  naturalism  metaethics  relativism  subjectivism  nihilism
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