Doing, allowing, and the problem of evil

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 81 (3):273-289 (2017)
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Many assume that the best, and perhaps only, way to address the so-called Problem of Evil is to claim that God does not do evil, but that God merely allows evil. This assumption depends on two claims: the doing-allowing distinction exists and the doing-allowing distinction is morally significant. In this paper I try to undermine both of these claims. Against I argue that some of the most influential analyses of the doing-allowing distinction face grave difficulties and that these difficulties are only exacerbated when applied to God. Against I argue that broadly Kantian considerations give a better explanation of the moral differences in paradigm cases than the doing-allowing distinction and, when applied to God, effectively dissolve the moral significance of the doing-allowing distinction. The upshot of this is that those who claim God does evil are no worse off than those who claim God allows evil regarding the PoE.



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Daniel Lim
Duke Kunshan University

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Physical Causation.Phil Dowe - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
God, freedom, and evil.Alvin Plantinga - 1978 - Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism.William L. Rowe - 1979 - American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (4):335 - 341.
Active and passive euthanasia.James Rachels - 2000 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press USA.

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