Weighing evils: the C. S. Lewis approach


Authors
Linda Zagzebski
University of Oklahoma
Joshua Seachris
University of Notre Dame
Abstract
It is often argued that the great quantity of evil in our world makes God’s existence less likely than a lesser quantity would, and this, presumably, because the probability that some evils are gratuitous increases as the overall quantity of evil increases. Often, an additive approach to quantifying evil is employed in such arguments. In this paper, we examine C. S. Lewis’ objection to the additive approach, arguing that although he is correct to reject this approach, there is a sense in which he underestimates the quantity of pain. However, the quantity of pain in that sense does not significantly increase the probability that some pain is gratuitous. Therefore, the quantitative argument likely fails.
Keywords Adding pain  C. S. Lewis  Evil  Gratuitous pain  Quantitative argument  Suffering
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DOI 10.1007/s11153-007-9133-x
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Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.David Hume - 2007 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophical Review. Blackwell. pp. 338-339.
God, Evil, and Suffering.Daniel Howard-Snyder - 1999 - In Michael Murray (ed.), Reason for the Hope Within. Eerdmans. pp. 217--237.
The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism.William L. Rowe - 1979 - American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (4):335 - 341.
The Problem of Pain.C. S. Lewis - 1944 - New York: Macmillan.

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