Infinite Value and the Best of All Possible Worlds

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):367-392 (2018)
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Abstract

A common argument for atheism runs as follows: God would not create a world worse than other worlds he could have created instead. However, if God exists, he could have created a better world than this one. Therefore, God does not exist. In this paper I challenge the second premise of this argument. I argue that if God exists, our world will continue without end, with God continuing to create value-bearers, and sustaining and perfecting the value-bearers he has already created. Given this, if God exists, our world—considered on the whole—is infinitely valuable. I further contend that this theistic picture makes our world's value unsurpassable. In support of this contention, I consider proposals for how infinitely valuable worlds might be improved upon, focusing on two main ways—adding value-bearers and increasing the value in present value-bearers. I argue that neither of these can improve our world. Depending on how each method is understood, either it would not improve our world, or our world is unsurpassable with respect to it. I conclude by considering the implications of my argument for the problem of evil more generally conceived.

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Nevin Climenhaga
Australian Catholic University

Citations of this work

Intrinsically Good, God Created Them.Daniel Rubio - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion.
In Defence of No Best World.Daniel Rubio - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy (4):811-825.
How Valuable Could a Person Be?Joshua Rasmussen & Andrew M. Bailey - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):264-277.
Death's Shadow Lightened.Daniel Rubio - 2021 - In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Non-existence. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 310-328.

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Normativity.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 2008 - Open Court. Edited by Russ Shafer-Landau.
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