Religious Studies 49 (4):439-458 (2013)

Samuel Shearn
University of Oxford
In this essay, moral anti-theodicy is characterized as opposition to the trivialization of suffering, defined as the reinterpretation of horrendous evils in a way the sufferer cannot accept. Ambitious theodicy (which claim goods emerge from specific evils) is deemed always to trivialize horrendous evils and, because there is no specific theoretical context, also harm sufferers. Moral anti-theodicy is susceptible to two main criticisms. First, it is over-demanding as a moral position. Second, anti-theodicist opposition to least ambitious theodicies, which portray God's decision to create as an scenario, requires a moral commitment to philosophical pessimism. Thus anti-theodicists should not be quick to take the moral high ground. However, this should not encourage theodicists, since theodicies may well be self-defeating in so far as they attempt to provide comfort
Keywords evil  anti-theodicy  theodicy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/s0034412513000164
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 53,066
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Negative Dialectics.Raymond Geuss - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (6):167-175.
Demandingness as a Virtue.Robert E. Goodin - 2009 - Journal of Ethics 13 (1):1-13.
Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God.[author unknown] - 1989 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes( 63:297-323.

View all 23 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Overcoming the Limits of Theodicy: An Interactive Reciprocal Response to Evil.John Culp - 2015 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 78 (3):263-276.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Morality of Theodicies.Michael Scott - 1996 - Religious Studies 32 (1):1 - 13.
Theodicy and Toleration in Bayle's Dictionary.Michael W. Hickson - 2013 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 51 (1):49-73.
Moral Evil, Freedom and the Goodness of God: Why Kant Abandoned Theodicy.Sam Duncan - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (5):973-991.
Malebranche and Leibniz on the Best of All Possible Worlds.Tad M. Schmaltz - 2010 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (1):28-48.
A Philosophy of Evil.Lars Fr H. Svendsen - 2010 - Dalkey Archive Press.
Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God.Philip L. Quinn - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (3):476-479.
The Anxious Believer: Macaulay’s Prescient Theodicy.Jill Graper Hernandez - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73 (3):175-187.


Added to PP index

Total views
57 ( #165,896 of 2,344,480 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #514,032 of 2,344,480 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes