Sophia 59 (3):577-592 (2020)

Thomas Metcalf
Spring Hill College
I develop a new theodicy in defense of Anselmian theism, one that has several advantages over traditional and recent replies to the Problem of Evil. To make my case, I first explain the value of a positive trajectory: a forward-in-time decrease in ‘first-order-gratuitous’ evil: evil that is not necessary for any equal-or-greater first-order good, but may be necessary for a higher-order good, such as the good of strongly positive axiological trajectory. Positive trajectory arguably contributes goodness to a world in proportion to the magnitude of this trajectory, and worlds that contain first-order-gratuitous evil thereby have the potential to contain a strongly positive trajectory. This would arguably explain why God would permit first-order-gratuitous evils: he may be indifferent between a world with no first-order-gratuitous evil and a world with some first-order-gratuitous evil but a strongly positive trajectory. Next, I answer the most salient objections to this theodicy. Finally, I explain how this theodicy is superior to some common theodicies.
Keywords Theodicy  Anselmian Theism  Axiology  Problem of evil  Gratuitous evil
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Reprint years 2020
DOI 10.1007/s11841-019-00747-7
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What Do Philosophers Believe?David Bourget & David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):465-500.
Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
The Limits of Morality.Shelly Kagan - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
The Problem of Evil.Michael Tooley - 2019 - Cambridge University Press.

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