David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Religious Studies 31 (3):375-390 (1995)
One of the most vexing problems in the philosophy of religion is the existence of moral evil in light of an omnipotent and wholly good deity. A popular mode of diffusing the argument from evil lies in the appeal to free will. Traditionally it is argued that there is a strong connection, even a necessary one, between the ability to exercise free will and the occurrence of wrong-doing. Transworld depravity, as characterized by Alvin Plantinga, is a concept which has gone far to explain this relationship. Essentially, the notion of transworld depravity involves the claim that in any world where a person is significantly free that person would, on some occasion, act morally wrongly, or as Plantinga phrases it: ‘If S' were actual, P would go wrong with respect to A’ (where S' is a possible world, P is a person and A is an action). Not only, Plantinga claims, is it possible that there are persons who suffer from transworld depravity, but ‘it is possible that everybody suffers from it’. If transworld depravity obtains, Plantinga notes, God ‘might have been able to create worlds in which moral evil is very considerably outweighed by moral good; but it was not within His power to create worlds containing moral good but no moral evil – and this despite the fact that He is omnipotent’. On this view, God could not instantiate perfect-person essences who would not ever sin. Although Plantinga argues that these instantiated beings are significantly free in that they could have done otherwise (i.e. not sinned), it does seem that his claim about transworld depravity amounts to a claim about transworld depravity amounts to a claim about the existence of a necessary connection obtaining between freedom and evil. For even though it makes sense to claim that an individual may have unactualized dispositions, to claim that everyone, past, present and future, has unactualized dispositions seems to be a significantly different claim. It is therefore difficult to see how this latter claim differs in substance from the claim of a necessary connection obtaining between the capacity for free will and the commission of evil acts.
|Keywords||argument from evil atheism philosophy of religion|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Alvin Plantinga (2009). Transworld Depravity, Transworld Sanctity, & Uncooperative Essences. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1):178-191.
Michael Bergmann (1999). Might-Counterfactuals, Transworld Untrustworthiness and Plantinga's Free Will Defence. Faith and Philosophy 16 (3):336-351.
David Basinger (1982). Anderson on Plantinga. Philosophy Research Archives 8:315-320.
James R. Beebe, Logical Problem of Evil. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Theodore Guleserian (2000). Divine Freedom and the Problem of Evil. Faith and Philosophy 17 (3):348-366.
Andrew Eshleman (1997). Alternative Possibilities and the Free Will Defence. Religious Studies 33 (3):267-286.
Daniel Howard-Snyder & John Hawthorne (1998). Transworld Sanctity and Plantinga's Free Will Defense. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 44 (1):1-21.
Michael J. Almeida (2004). Ideal Worlds and the Transworld Untrustworthy. Religious Studies 40 (1):113-123.
Frank J. Murphy (1995). The Problem of Evil and a Plausible Defence. Religious Studies 31 (2):243 - 250.
Josh Rasmussen (2004). On Creating Worlds Without Evil – Given Divine Counterfactual Knowledge. Religious Studies 40 (4):457-470.
Added to index2009-09-06
Total downloads43 ( #54,400 of 1,696,221 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #333,709 of 1,696,221 )
How can I increase my downloads?