Is the Problem of Evil a Problem for Descartes?


Abstract
In “Descartes’s Theodicy of Error,” Michael J. Latzer argues that the Fourth Meditation has “general significance for the project of theodicy” and offers “asolution to the problem of evil as complete, in its own succinct way, as Leibniz’s is on a grander scale.” I do not think that anyone has accurately understood the complex theodicy offered there, however. Commentators disagree about the argument and have not carefully explained exactly what Descartes says that applies to the problem of evil. The purpose of my paper is three-fold. I explain the theodicy that Descartes offers to explain philosophical error in the Fourth Meditation; argue that although we are justified in understanding this theodicy as concerning the problem of evil, the advice Descartes offers for avoiding philosophical error does not apply to avoiding sin ; and argue that the theodicy may actually be no theodicy at all.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Conference Proceedings  History of Philosophy  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0065-7638
DOI acpaproc20047828
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