About this topic
Summary The Argument from Evil is a class of arguments which purport that the existence of evil is incompatible with the existence of God. As Hume put it, "Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?" The argument of evil can be divided into two broad types of arguments: Logical and Evidential. The logical version of the argument argues that the existence of evil is logically incompatible with the existence of God. Those who advance evidential arguments often argue for a much weaker claim - that the existence of evil gives us evidence against God's existence.
Key works A concise statement of the logical problem of evil which has directed much of the recent discussion about this version can be found in Mackie's Evil and Omnipotence. The most popular response to the logical argument from evil has been Plantinga's Free Will Defense. The evidential problem of evil can be seen in Draper's Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists, Rowe's The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism, and in the Howard-Snyder's The Evidential Argument from Evil. For responses to the evidential argument, we can look at William Hasker's Suffering, Soul-Building, and Salvation, Van Inwagen's The Problem of Evil, the Problem of Air, and the Problem of Silence, Wykstra's The Humean Obstacle to Evidential Arguments, among others.
Introductions Beebe 2003 Tooley 2008
Related categories
Siblings:See also:History/traditions: The Argument from Evil

1765 found
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  1. added 2020-05-19
    Evil Does Not Pose Any Special Problem for Berkeleyan Idealism.Benjamin H. Arbour & Gregory E. Trickett - 2018 - Philosophia Christi 20 (2):567-580.
    John DePoe takes issue with Christians who accept Berkeleyan idealism, essentially arguing that there is a special problem from evil for the Christian idealist. While DePoe’s treatment of idealism is commendable, his argument ultimately fails in one of two ways. It either turns on common misunderstandings of idealism or results in consequences unacceptable to Christians. In our article, we respond to DePoe’s argument by remotivating idealism, pointing out ways in which DePoe misunderstands idealists’ responses to the charge of a special (...)
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  2. added 2020-05-09
    Second-Personal Theodicy: Coming to Know Why God Permits Suffering by Coming to Know God Himself.Dylan Balfour - forthcoming - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion:1-19.
    The popularity of theodicy over the past several decades has given rise to a countermovement, “anti-theodicy”, which admonishes attempts at theodicy for various reasons. This paper examines one prominent anti-theodical objection: that it is hubristic, and attempts to form an approach to theodicy which evades this objection. To do so I draw from the work of Eleonore Stump, who provides a framework by which we can glean second-personal knowledge of God. From this knowledge, I argue that we can derive a (...)
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  3. added 2020-04-26
    The Incarnation and the Problem of Evil.Gary Chartier - 2008 - Heythrop Journal 49 (1):110-27.
    While the incarnation is often invoked as part of a response to the problem of evil (as by the early Kenneth Surin), affirming something like an orthodox view of the incarnation also seems to accentuate the problem of evil by incorporating belief in miraculous divine action. I suggest a possible line of response that allows for the incarnation to be understood as historically particular but non-miraculous.
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  4. added 2020-03-25
    Moral Responsibility in a Maximally Great Being.Stephen Kershnar - 2004 - Philo 7 (1):97-113.
    If God is essentially all-good, then he is not morally responsible. If God is maximally great, then he is essentially both omnipotent and omniscient and these latter properties ensure that he is essentially all-good. From essential all-goodness, it follows that he does not have the power to choose evil. This in turn results in his lacking the power to do evil and thus his not being responsible for avoiding it. This conclusion is not defeated by objections that differ based on (...)
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  5. added 2020-03-19
    Skeptical Theism Proved.Perry Hendricks - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    Skeptical theism is a popular response to arguments from evil. Many hold that it undermines a key inference often used by such arguments. However, the case for skeptical theism is often kept at an intuitive level: no one has offered an explicit argument for the truth of skeptical theism. In this article, I aim to remedy this situation: I construct an explicit, rigorous argument for the truth (of one version) of skeptical theism.
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  6. added 2020-03-15
    Divine Satisficing and the Ethics of the Problem of Evil.Chris Tucker - forthcoming - Faith and Philosophy.
    This paper accomplishes three goals. First, it reveals that God’s ethics has a radical satisficing structure: God can choose a good enough suboptimal option even if there is a best option and no countervailing considerations. Second, it resolves the long-standing worry that there is no account of the good enough that is both principled and demanding enough to be good enough. Third, it vindicates the key ethical assumption in the problem of evil without relying on the contested assumption that God’s (...)
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  7. added 2020-03-14
    Introducing the Problem of Evil.Peter Hutcheson - 1999 - Teaching Philosophy 22 (2):185-194.
    This paper addresses several reasons why students may be uninterested or unwilling to engage with the problem of evil and discusses a method of teaching it which overcomes these difficulties. This strategy, first, distinguishes between evil and gratuitous evil. This prevents students from thinking that the task of theodicy is fulfilled by a reconciliation of God with mundane evil . Second, the goal of theodicy is framed as the reconciliation of God with the appearance of evil. Emphasizing appearance in this (...)
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  8. added 2020-03-13
    A New Theist Response to the New Atheists.Kevin Vallier & Joshua Rasmussen (eds.) - 2020 - Routledge.
    In response to the intellectual movement of New Atheism, this volume articulates a "New Theist" response that has at its core a desire to engage in productive and depolarizing dialogue. To ensure this book is of interest to atheists and theists alike, a team of experts in the field of philosophy of religion offer an assessment of the strongest New Atheist arguments. The chapters address the most pertinent questions about God, including politics and morality, and each essay shows how a (...)
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  9. added 2020-03-13
    Another Way Between Atheism and Theism?Peter Hutcheson - 1999 - Philo 2 (2):64-68.
    This is a book review article of David O'Connor's God and Inscrutable Evil.
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  10. added 2020-03-10
    A PHILOSOPHICAL ENQUIRY INTO THE SCANDAL OF EVIL AND SUFFERING.Edvard Kristian Foshaugen - 2004 - Baptist SA (x):x.
    This paper will explore some of the issues and arguments and offer some critical reflection on the ideas and ways that people have proposed to overcome or uphold the dilemma or conflict between the existence of the God of classical theism and evil and the consequence of evil - suffering. I seek explanation of the plain fact of evil and suffering but I do not seek it in the arrogant belief that I can explain evil away. My Christian faith is (...)
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  11. added 2020-03-06
    The Challenge of Evolution to Religion.Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz - 2020 - Cambridge University Press.
    This Element focuses on three challenges of evolution to religion: teleology, human origins, and the evolution of religion itself. First, religious worldviews tend to presuppose a teleological understanding of the origins of living things, but scientists mostly understand evolution as non-teleological. Second, religious and scientific accounts of human origins do not align in a straightforward sense. Third, evolutionary explanations of religion, including religious beliefs and practices, may cast doubt on their justification. We show how these tensions arise and offer potential (...)
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  12. added 2020-03-04
    Can God Promise Us a New Past? A Response to Lebens and Goldschmidt.Bogdan Faul - 2020 - Open Theology 6 (1):167-174.
    Samuel Lebens and Tyron Goldschmidt provided original theodicies, which suggest that at one time God will change the past, either by erasing/substituting the sins of humans or erasing the whole entirety of evils. Both theodicies imply the idea that God can completely change the past without leaving any traces. In this paper, I argue that Lebens’ and Goldschmidt’s preferred model, which they call the scene-changing theory, is problematic. First, its complex metaphysical foundation could be replaced with presentism (roughly, the view (...)
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  13. added 2020-02-26
    The Skeptical Theist Response.Stephen Wykstra - 2017 - In Chad Meister & James K. Dew Jr (eds.), God and the Problem of Evil. InterVaristy Press. pp. 173-184.
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  14. added 2020-02-26
    A Skeptical Theist View.Stephen Wykstra - 2017 - In Chad Meister & James K. Dew Jr (eds.), God and the Problem of Evil. InterVaristy Press. pp. 99-127.
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  15. added 2020-02-23
    Resisting Rowe's No-Best-World Argument for Atheism.Dean Zimmerman - 2019 - In Quo Vadis, Metaphysics?: Essays in Honor of Peter van Inwagen. Walter de Gruyter GmbH. pp. 443-468.
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  16. added 2020-02-20
    La providencia en santo Tomás de Aquino.David Torrijos-Castrillejo - 2019 - Revista Española de Teología 79:419-454.
    According to Aquinas, divine omniscience, omnipotence and providence, do not contradict the existence of either true contingency in the natural world or freedom but, on the contrary, they support them. In short, the two peculiarities of the doctrine of providence in St. Thomas here exposed are: first, that God's will is the ultimate foundation of all contingency (and not merely the deficiency of secondary causes); second, that the divine causality cannot be reduced to any of the two groups of created (...)
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  17. added 2020-02-03
    The Problem of Evil & Sceptical Theism.Justin McBrayer - 2017 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 81:45-54.
    The problem of evil is the problem of reconciling the existence of a perfect God with the existence of horrible things in the world. Many take this problem as a convincing reason to be an atheist. But others think that the problem can be solved. One prominent solution is called ‘sceptical theism’. A sceptical theist is someone who believes in God but thinks that the problem of evil is not a real problem since humans are unable to see whether the (...)
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  18. added 2020-02-01
    The Epistemology of Theistic Philosophers’ Reactions to the Problem of Evil.Bryan Frances - forthcoming - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.
    I first argue that contrary to many atheistic philosophers, there is good reason to think the typical theistic philosopher’s retaining of her theism when faced with the Problem of Evil (PoE) is comparatively epistemically upstanding even if both atheism is true and the typical theistic philosopher has no serious criticism of the atheist’s premises in the PoE argument. However, I then argue that contrary to many theistic philosophers, even if theism is true, the typical theistic philosopher has no good non-theistic (...)
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  19. added 2020-01-27
    In Defence of No Best World.Daniel Rubio - unknown - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-15.
    Recent work in the philosophy of religion has resurrected Leibniz’s idea that there is a best possible world, perhaps ours. In particular, Klaas Kraay’s [2010] construction of a theistic multiverse and Nevin Climenhaga’s [2018] argument from infinite value theory are novel defenses of a best possible world. I do not think that there is a best world, and show how both Kraay and Climenhaga may be resisted. First, I argue that Kraay’s construction of a theistic multiverse can be resisted from (...)
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  20. added 2020-01-22
    Review of James P. Sterba, Is a Good God Logically Possible? [REVIEW]Felipe Leon - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-8.
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  21. added 2020-01-03
    God's Nature and Attributes.Ide Lévi & Alejandro Pérez - 2019 - TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology 3 (2).
  22. added 2019-12-26
    Some Thoughts on the Logical Aspects of the Problem of Evil.Ricardo Sousa Silvestre - forthcoming - In Ricardo Sousa Silvestre, Benedikt Paul Göcke, Jean-Yves Beziau & Purushottama Bilimoria (eds.), Beyond Faith and Rationality: Essays on Logic, Religion and Philosophy. Berlin, Germany: Springer.
    My purpose in this chapter is to take seriously the idea that problem of evil is an incompatibility between the proposition that the world was created and is ruled by an omnipotent, omniscient and unlimitedly good being and one that says that there is evil and suffering in our world. Besides being in accordance with much of the literature on the problem of evil, this idea takes the problem at face value, that is to say, it sees it as a (...)
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  23. added 2019-12-24
    Is God the Best Explanation of Things? A Dialogue.Felipe Leon & Joshua L. Rasmussen Josh - 2019 - Palgrave Macmillan.
    This book provides an up to date, high-level exchange on God in a uniquely productive style. Readers witness a contemporary version of a classic debate, as two professional philosophers seek to learn from each other while making their cases for their distinct positions. In their dialogue, Joshua Rasmussen and Felipe Leon examine classical and cutting-edge arguments for and against a theistic explanation of general features of reality. The book also provides original lines of thought based on the authors’ own contributions (...)
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  24. added 2019-11-22
    How to Solve the Problem of Evil: A Deontological Strategy.Justin Mooney - 2019 - Faith and Philosophy 36 (4):442-462.
    One paradigmatic argument from evil against theism claims that, (1) if God exists, then there is no gratuitous evil. But (2) there is gratuitous evil, so (3) God does not exist. I consider three deontological strategies for resisting this argument. Each strategy restructures existing theodicies which deny (2) so that they instead deny (1). The first two strategies are problematic on their own, but their primary weaknesses vanish when they are combined to form the third strategy, resulting in a promising (...)
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  25. added 2019-11-06
    Moral Indulgences: When Offsetting is Wrong.Rebecca Chan & Dustin Crummett - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 9:68-95.
  26. added 2019-09-30
    We Are Not in the Dark: Refuting Popular Arguments Against Skeptical Theism.Perry Hendricks - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
  27. added 2019-09-29
    Critical Study of Wandering in Darkness: Narratives and the Problem of Suffering, by Eleonore Stump. [REVIEW]Paul Draper - 2011 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 7.
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  28. added 2019-09-29
    Probabilistic Arguments From Evil.Paul Draper - 1992 - Religious Studies 28 (3):303-317.
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  29. added 2019-09-27
    "Esau I Hated: Levinas on the Ethics of God's Absence.Kevin Houser - 2016 - Listening: Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture 2 (50).
    Emmanuel Levinas objects to traditional theodicy. But his objection to theodicy is so untraditional that God’s existence is incidental to it. The primary problem with theodicy, he argues, is not evidential but ethical. The primary problem with theodicy is not that its claims are false, but that its claims are offensive. In laying out Levinas's unusual view, I first sketch out the specifically ethical nature of theodicy’s offense: failing to acknowledge suffering. Next I discuss Levinas unusual account of this suffering, (...)
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  30. added 2019-09-17
    Theism and the Criminalization of Sin.Jeremy Koons - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 10 (1):163-187.
    The free will theodicy places significant value on free will: free will is of such substantial value, that God’s gift of free will to humans was justified, even though this gift foreseeably results in the most monstrous of evils. I will argue that when a state criminalizes sin, it can restrict or eliminate citizens’ exercise of metaphysical free will with respect to choosing to partake in or refrain from these activities. Given the value placed on free will in the free (...)
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  31. added 2019-09-09
    Evidence for Intelligent Extraterrestrials is Evidence Against the Existence of God.Samuel Ruhmkorff - 2019 - Think 18 (53):79-84.
    The recent explosion in the discovery of exoplanets and our incipient ability to detect atmospheric biomarkers recommend reflection on the conceptual implications of discovering – or not discovering – extrasolar life. I contend that evidence for intelligent extraterrestrial life is evidence against the existence of God, because if there are intelligent extraterrestrials, there are likely to be evils in the universe even greater than those found on Earth. My reasoning is based on Richard Gott's Copernican Principle, which holds that in (...)
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  32. added 2019-09-07
    Is the No-Minimum Claim True? Reply to Cullison: Jeff Jordan.Jeff Jordan - 2011 - Religious Studies 47 (1):125-127.
    Is the no-minimum claim true? I have argued that it is not. Andrew Cullison contends that my argument fails, since human sentience is variable; while Michael Schrynemakers has contended that the failure is my neglect of vagueness. Both, I argue, are wrong.
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  33. added 2019-09-04
    Theodicy, Supreme Providence, and Semiclassical Theism.James Goetz - forthcoming - Theology and Science.
    Logical limits of omnipotence, the problem of evil, and a compelling cosmological argument suggest the position of supreme providence and the foremost creation out of nothing that coheres with the constraints of physics. The Supreme Being possesses everlasting love, perception, and force while governing the universe of probabilistic processes and freewill creatures. For example, the Supreme Being intervenes in the processes of creation by the means of synergism with freewill creatures and cannot meticulously control the created universe.
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  34. added 2019-08-27
    Skeptical Theism Unscathed: Why Skeptical Objections to Skeptical Theism Fail.Perry Hendricks - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1):43-73.
    Arguments from evil purport to show that some fact about evil makes it (at least) probable that God does not exist. Skeptical theism is held to undermine many versions of the argument from evil: it is thought to undermine a crucial inference that such arguments often rely on. Skeptical objections to skeptical theism claim that it (skeptical theism) entails an excessive amount of skepticism, and therefore should be rejected. In this article, I show that skeptical objections to skeptical theism have (...)
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  35. added 2019-08-09
    Creation and the Sovereignty of God.Hugh J. McCann - 2012 - Indiana University Press.
    Creation and the Sovereignty of God brings fresh insight to a defense of God.
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  36. added 2019-07-25
    Perspectival Skeptical Theism.Jonathan Curtis Rutledge - 2019 - Faith and Philosophy 36 (2):244-264.
    Skeptical theists have paid insufficient attention to non-evidential components of epistemic rationality. I address this lacuna by constructing an alternative perspectivalist understanding of epistemic rationality and defeat that, when applied to skeptical theism, yields a more demanding standard for reasonably affirming the crucial premise of the evidential argument from suffering. The resulting perspectival skeptical theism entails that someone can be justified in believing that gratuitous suffering exists only if they are not subject to closure-of-inquiry defeat; that is, a type of (...)
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  37. added 2019-07-02
    Alvin Plantinga.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2019 - Aphex 2019.
    Alvin Plantinga è uno dei più importanti metafisici e filosofi della religione viventi. In questo profilo, dopo aver brevemente narrato la sua formazione intellettuale, considererò alcuni aspetti del suo pensiero: la teoria di Plantinga dei mondi possibili; la sua teoria della garanzia epistemica delle credenze, fondata sul concetto di funzione propria; la versione di Plantinga dell’argomento ontologico per provare l’esistenza di Dio; la sua critica dell’argomento del male per provare l'inesistenza di Dio; l’argomento di Plantinga contro il naturalismo.
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  38. added 2019-06-30
    The Free Will Defense Revisited: The Instrumental Value of Significant Free Will.Frederick Choo & Esther Goh - 2019 - International Journal of Theology, Philosophy and Science (4):32-45.
    Alvin Plantinga has famously responded to the logical problem of evil by appealing to the intrinsic value of significant free will. A problem, however, arises because traditional theists believe that both God and the redeemed who go to heaven cannot do wrong acts. This entails that both God and the redeemed in heaven lack significant freedom. If significant freedom is indeed valuable, then God and the redeemed in heaven would lack something intrinsically valuable. However, if significant freedom is not intrinsically (...)
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  39. added 2019-06-06
    The Blackwell Companion to the Problem of Evil.Justin P. Mcbrayer (ed.) - 2013 - Wiley.
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  40. added 2019-06-06
    Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering, by Eleonore Stump.: Book Reviews. [REVIEW]Vince Vitale - 2013 - Mind 122 (488):1193-1201.
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  41. added 2019-06-06
    Religion and Wittgenstein's Legacy. [REVIEW]Richard S. Briggs - 2013 - Heythrop Journal 54 (2):334-334.
  42. added 2019-06-06
    Contemplating Religious Forms of Life: Wittgenstein and D.Z. Phillips. [REVIEW]Jonathan Tuckett - 2013 - Sophia 52 (4):723-724.
  43. added 2019-06-06
    Is God’s Benevolence Impartial?Robert K. Garcia - 2013 - Southwest Philosophy Review 29 (1):23-30.
    In this paper I consider the intuitive idea that God is fair and does not play favorites. This belief appears to be held by many theists. I will call it the Principle of Impartial Benevolence (PIB) and put it as follows: As much as possible, for all persons, God equally promotes the good and equally prevents the bad. I begin with the conviction that there is a prima facie tension between PIB and the disparity of human suffering. My aim in (...)
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  44. added 2019-06-06
    Andrew Gleeson, A Frightening Love: Recasting the Problem of Evil . Ix + 172, Price £50.00 Hb.Christopher Cordner - 2013 - Philosophical Investigations 36 (3):275-279.
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  45. added 2019-06-06
    Creatio Ex Nihilo, the Problem of Evil, and the Crisis in Ethics: Lacan Reads Luther's "The Bondage of the Will".Herman Westerink - 2012 - Philosophy and Theology 24 (1):3-21.
    In his 1959–1960 seminar on the ethics of psychoanalysis the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan states that one can only fully understand the intellectual problems Freud addresses when one recognizes the filiation or cultural paternity that exists between him and a new direction of thought represented by Luther. In this article Lacan’s interest in Luther’s theological voluntarism, his conception of God, his articulation of what Lacan identifies as the modern crisis in ethics and his view on the law in relation to (...)
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  46. added 2019-06-06
    The Problem of Evil and the Limits of Philosophy: Toward a Pragmatist Appreciation Of the Impossibility of Theodicies.Sami Pihlström - 2012 - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 33 (1):159-184.
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  47. added 2019-06-06
    The Problem of Negligent Omissions: Medieval Action Theories to the Rescue. [REVIEW]M. V. Dougherty - 2012 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 86 (1):161-163.
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  48. added 2019-06-06
    The Triumph of God Over Evil: Theodicy for a World of Suffering. [REVIEW]Kenneth Einar Himma - 2011 - Religious Studies 47 (1):129-133.
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  49. added 2019-06-06
    Light in the Darkness? Reflections on Eleonore Stump’s Theodicy.William Hasker - 2011 - Faith and Philosophy 28 (4):432-450.
    Eleonore Stump’s Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering is a major contribution to the literature on the problem of evil. This reviewessay summarizes the overall argument of the book, pointing out both merits and difficulties with Stump’s approach. In particular, the essay urges objectionsto the solution she presents for the problem of suffering.
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  50. added 2019-06-06
    Epistemological Considerations Concerning Skeptical Theism: A Response To Dougherty.Jonathan D. Matheson - 2011 - Faith and Philosophy 28 (3):323-331.
    Recently Trent Dougherty has claimed that there is a tension between skeptical theism and common sense epistemology—that the more plausible one of these views is, the less plausible the other is. In this paper I explain Dougherty’s argument and develop an account of defeaters which removes the alleged tension between skeptical theism and common sense epistemology.
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