Evil and God's Toxin Puzzle

Noûs 50 (2):88-108 (2016)
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Abstract

I show that Kavka's toxin puzzle raises a problem for the “Responsibility Theodicy,” which holds that the reason God typically does not intervene to stop the evil effects of our actions is that such intervention would undermine the possibility of our being significantly responsible for overcoming and averting evil. This prominent theodicy seems to require that God be able to do what the agent in Kavka's toxin story cannot do: stick by a plan to do some action at a future time even though when that time comes, there will be no good reason for performing that action. I assess various approaches to solving this problem. Along the way, I develop an iterated variant of Kavka's toxin case and argue that the case is not adequately handled by standard causal decision theory.

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John Pittard
Yale University

Citations of this work

The defeat of evil and the norms of hope.John Pittard - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (4):317-335.

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References found in this work

Rationality and Dynamic Choice: Foundational Explorations.Edward Francis McClennen - 1990 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
The Toxin Puzzle.Gregory S. Kavka - 1983 - Analysis 43 (1):33-36.
Counterfactuals and Two Kinds of Expected Utility.Allan Gibbard & William L. Harper - 1978 - In A. Hooker, J. J. Leach & E. F. McClennen (eds.), Foundations and Applications of Decision Theory. D. Reidel. pp. 125-162.
Some counterexamples to causal decision theory.Andy Egan - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (1):93-114.

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