Theodicy, the enterprise of searching for greater goods that might plausibly justify God’s permission of evil, is often criticized on the grounds that the project has systematically failed to unearth any such goods. But theodicists also face a deeper challenge, one that places under question the very attempt to look for any morally sufficient reasons God might have for creating a world littered with evil. This ‘anti-theodical’ view argues that theists (and non-theists) ought to reject, primarily for moral reasons, (...) the project of ‘justifying the ways of God to men’. Unfortunately, this view has not received the serious attention it deserves, particularly in analytic philosophy of religion. Taking my cues from such anti-theodicists as Kenneth Surin, D.Z. Phillips and Dostoyevsky’s Ivan Karamazov, I defend several reasons for holding that the way of thinking about God and evil enshrined in theodical discourse can only add to the world’s evils, not remove or illuminate them. (shrink)
‘Simulation Hypotheses’ are imaginative scenarios that are typically employed in philosophy to speculate on how likely it is that we are currently living within a simulated universe as well as on our possibility for ever discerning whether we do in fact inhabit one. These philosophical questions in particular overshadowed other aspects and potential uses of simulation hypotheses, some of which are foregrounded in this article. More specifically, “A Theodicy for Artificial Universes” focuses on the moral implications of simulation hypotheses (...) with the objective of speculatively answering questions concerning computer simulations such as: If we are indeed living in a computer simulation, what might be its purpose? What aspirations and values could be inferentially attributed to its alleged creators? And would living in a simulated universe affect the value and meaning we attribute to our existence? (shrink)
The existence of evil is compatible with the existence of God, most theists would claim, because evil either results from the activities of free agents, or it contributes in some way toward their moral development. According to the ‘free-will defence’, evil and suffering are necessary consequences of free-will. Proponents of the ‘soul-making argument’—a theodicy with a different emphasis—argue that a universe which is imperfect will nurture a whole range of virtues in a way impossible either in a perfect world, (...) or in a totally evil one. The pain of animals is widely thought to constitute a major difficulty for both of these accounts, for if we ask whether the only evils present in the world result directly from the free actions of created agents, or contribute in some way to ‘soul-making’ of such agents, we are bound to admit that, on the face of it, much animal pain does not. (shrink)
In this article, I outline the major themes of ‘anti-theodicy’. Anti-theodicy is characterised as a reaction, as rejection, against traditional solutions to the problem of evil and against the traditional formulations of the problem of evil to which those solutions respond. I detail numerous ‘moral’ anti-theodical objections to theodicy, illustrating the central claim of anti-theodicy: Theodicy is morally objectionable. I also detail some ‘non-moral’ anti-theodical objections, illustrating the second major claim of anti-theodicy: Traditional formulations (...) of the problem of evil are conceptually misguided. My focus remains on the analytic philosophical tradition throughout, but I briefly allude to the rich theological tradition of anti-theodicy. Although we should recognise the significant degree of diversity amongst anti-theodical arguments and the philosophical views of their proponents, this article should serve to illustrate the general theme: ‘Theodicies mediate a praxis that sanctions evil.’. (shrink)
Theodicy needs to show, for all actual evils e, that 1) in allowing e, a God would bring about a necessary condition of a good g not achievable in any other morally permissible way, 2) if e occurs, g occurs, 3) it is morally permissible for God to allow e, and 4) g is at least as good as e is bad. This article contributes to a full-scale theodicy by showing that A being of use (e.g., by suffering) (...) to B is a great good for A, and that in consequence, if 1) and 2) are satisfied, 3) and 4) are also likely to be satisfied. (shrink)
Moral anti-theodicists have posed a consequentialist argument against the theodical enterprise: that theodicies lead to harmful consequences in reality and that this should be sufficient reason to motivate abandoning the practise of theodicising altogether. In this paper, I examine variants of this argument and discuss several prominent responses from theodicists, including the separation thesis. I argue that while these responses are effective in resisting the global conclusion by the anti-theodicist, it still leaves the theodical enterprise vulnerable to a weaker version (...) of the consequentialist critique. In response, I develop an account of ‘theodicies-of-embrace-protest’ which is able to preserve the meaningful strides made in traditional theodicies while taking seriously the criticisms of the moral anti-theodicists. (shrink)
Of the many problems which evolutionary theodicy tries to address, the ones of animal suffering and extinction seem especially intractable. In this essay, I show how C. D. Broad's growing block conception of time does much to ameliorate the problems. Additionally, I suggest it leads to another way of understanding the soul. Instead of it being understood as a substance, it is seen as a history—a history which is resurrected in the end times. Correspondingly, redemption, I argue, should not (...) be seen as an event which redeems some future portion of time. God's triumph is over all of history, not just some future temporal portion. (shrink)
In this paper I offer a discussion of chapter 3 of Adrian Moore’s The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics, which is titled “Leibniz: Metaphysics in the Service of Theodicy.” Here Moore discusses the philosophy of Leibniz and comes to a damning conclusion. My main aim is to suggest that such a conclusion might be a little premature. I begin by outlining Moore’s discussion of Leibniz and then raise some problems for the objections that Moore presents. I follow this by raising (...) a Moore-inspired problem of my own and offer a possible response. The response is based on a little-known essay of Leibniz’s called “Leibniz’s Philosophical Dream” and leads me to consider Leibniz’s deepest motivations for engaging in philosophical reflection. (shrink)
In responding to Peter Forrest’s defence of ‘tough-minded theodicy’, I point to some problematic features of theodicies of this sort, in particular their commitment to an anthropomorphic conception of God which tends to assimilate the Creator to the creaturely and so diminishes the otherness and mystery of God. This remains the case, I argue, even granted Forrest’s view that God may have a very different kind of morality from the one we mortals are subject to.
This study is the first work ever to interpret the Meditations as theodicy. I show that Descartes' attempt to define the role of God for man's cognitive fallibility in so far as God is the creator of man's nature, is a reiteration of an old Epicurean argument pointing out the incongruity between the existence of God and evil. The question of the nature and origin of error which Descartes addresses in the First Meditation is reformulated in the Fourth Meditation (...) into broader considerations about the nature and scope of human freedom. ;The point of gravity of my thesis is Descartes' conceptions of human freedom and divine liberty. Since the conception of human freedom is the reversal of the doctrine of divine liberty, I analyze the two conceptions as two sides of the same problem--the problem of man's relation to God, or the problem of the relation of finitude to Infinity. I show that Descartes' quest for Certitude--which runs parallel to his attempt to overcome the problem of an evil deity--can be reformulated into the problem of creation. I present the problem of error as the problem of evil, and the problem of human will I present as the problem of human freedom, and the search for Certitude I interpret as the vindication of God's goodness and omnipotence, that is, theodicy. ;There are several points which are essential for Cartesian metaphysics, and which, as I demonstrate, Descartes borrowed from St. Augustine: the doctrine of the eternal truths , the conception of human freedom, the theory of error and the explanation of the will's propensity towards error , and the account of human nature. It is my contention that as much as Descartes insisted on the timelessness of his philosophy, what he had to say on the relationship between God and man is a reflection of the 17th c. theological debates which were fought by the Augustinians and the Molinists and were expressed by Descartes in the language and categories created by St. Augustine. (shrink)
Theodicy and Toleration Seem at first glance to be an unlikely pair of topics to treat in a single paper. Toleration usually means putting up with beliefs or actions with which one disagrees, and it is practiced because the beliefs or actions in question are not disagreeable enough to justify interference. It is usually taken to be a topic for moral and political philosophy. Theodicy, on the other hand, is the attempt to solve the problem of evil; that (...) is, to explain the origin of suffering and sin in a way that does not make God a moral cause of those evils.1 While theodicy concerns the notions of good and evil, and could therefore be considered a moral topic, historical and contemporary discussions of it have .. (shrink)
From a theoretical standpoint, the problem of human suffering can be understood as one formulation of the classical problem of evil, which calls into question the compatibility of the existence of a perfect God with the extent to which human beings suffer. Philosophical responses to this problem have traditionally been posed in the form of theodicies, or justifications of the divine. In this article, I argue that the theodical approach in analytic philosophy of religion exhibits both morally and epistemically harmful (...) tendencies and that philosophers would do better to shift their perspective from the hypothetical “God’s-eye view” to the standpoint of those who actually suffer. By focusing less on defending the epistemic rationality of religious belief and more on the therapeutic effectiveness of particular imaginings of God with respect to suffering, we can recover, (re)construct, and/or (re)appropriate more virtuous approaches to the individual and collective struggle with the life of faith in the face of suffering. (shrink)
In reply to the problem of evil, some suggest that God created an infinite number of universes—for example, that God created every universe that contains more good than evil. I offer two objections to these multiverse theodicies. First, I argue that, for any number of universes God creates, he could have created more, because he could have created duplicates of universes. Next, I argue that multiverse theodicies can’t adequately account for why God would create universes with pointless suffering, and hence (...) they don’t solve the problem of evil. (shrink)
Edward Nieznański developed two logical systems to deal with the problem of evil and to refute religious determinism. However, when formalized in first-order modal logic, two axioms of each system contradict one another, revealing that there is an underlying minimal set of axioms enough to settle the questions. In this article, we develop this minimal system, called N3, which is based on Nieznański’s contribution. The purpose of N3 is to solve the logical problem of evil through the defeat of a (...) version of religious determinism. On the one hand, these questions are also addressed by Nieznański’s systems, but, on the other hand, they are obtained in N3 with fewer assumptions. Our approach can be considered a case of logic of religion, that is, of logic applied to religious discourse, as proposed by Józef Maria Bocheński; in this particular case, it is a discourse in theodicy, which is situated in the context of the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Marilyn McCord Adams agrees with D. Z. Phillips that instrumental theodicy is a moral failure, and that sceptical theists and others are guilty of ignoring what we know now about the moral reality of horrendous evils to speculate about unknown ways these evils might be made sense of. In place of theodicy, Adams advocates ‘the logic of compensation’ for the victims of evil, a postmortem healing of divine intimacy with God. This goes so deep, she believes, that eventually (...) victims will see the horrors they suffered as points of contact with the incarnate, suffering God and cease wishing they had never suffered them. I argue Adams’s position falls foul of the very criticisms she and Phillips make against instrumental theodicy. (shrink)
Theodicy begins with the recognition that the world is not obviously under the care of a loving God with limitless power and wisdom. If it were, why would the world be burdened with its considerable amount and variety of evil? Theodicists are those who attempt to answer this question by suggesting a possible rationale for the appearance of evil in a theocentric universe. In the past theodicists have taken up the cause of theodicy in the service of piety, (...) so that God might be defended against libel from humans, particularly the accusation that God's reign lacks justice. Contemporary practitioners, who live in a world where the existence of God can no longer be presumed, tend to favour theodicy as an exercise in securing the rationality of religious belief. Their hope is that one crucial theoretical obstacle to responsible belief in God will have been eliminated, once the idea of God has been reconciled with the reality of evil. What has commonly united theodicists, at least since the Enlightenment, is that they must answer to a non–believing antagonist. Until relatively recently, theodicy has been a debate between apologists for theistic faith and their cultured detractors. (shrink)
From Leibniz's time until the mid-1970s, the word ‘theodicy’ was used to describe attempts to explain God's permission of evil. Since the mid-1970s, however, it has taken on a more refined sense among philosophers of religion – a change that can be attributed to Alvin Plantinga's book God, Freedom and Evil. In this work, Plantinga distinguishes between two types of explanations of evil that theists might construct. The first type is offered in response to arguments that the coexistence of (...) God and evil is impossible. Explanations of this sort, which Plantinga calls ‘defences’, need only show the logical compatibility of God and evil. The second type aims to provide plausible and perhaps even likely-to-be-true explanations of evil, explanations which show that the existence of evil is not unlikely given the existence of God. Plantinga labelled explanations of this latter sort ‘theodicies’. His distinction has left a lasting mark on the field, and in the contemporary literature philosophers of religion use the term ‘theodicy’ in this narrower sense, and it is in this sense that it will be addressed in this article. The article discusses the punishment theodicy, the natural consequence theodicy, the free-will theodicy, the natural-law theodicy, soul-making theodicies, and theodicies of animal suffering. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Fyodor Dostoevsky understood this practical dimension well, and it is embodied in his literary treatment of the problem of evil in his masterpiece, The Brothers' Karamazov.1 In what follows, I will interpret the powerful existential repudiation of Christianity based on the facts of human suffering voiced by the antagonist, Ivan. After noting some similarities of Ivan’s case to that given by the French existentialist philosopher Albert Camus in his novel, The Plague, I then turn to Dostoevsky’s response, expressed through the (...) final discourse of the Elder Zossima. My goal here is solely to interpret and to set in a clearer focus the way Dostoevsky approaches the problem of evil. At the end, I briefly note some outstanding issues facing his strategy for resolving it. (shrink)
Theodicies can be distinguished as “hard-nosed” or “good-hearted.” Typical features of each are given. I reject the former; they set the bar too low for God. Considerable discussion is devoted to Eleonore Stump's recent Wandering in Darkness, which sets the standard for good-hearted theodicies. I then develop the notion of a “perfect creature”, a possible being indistinguishable from God except lacking aseity, and argue that God should have created only perfect creatures. Since He did not, He is not. Theodicies, therefore, (...) are in trouble if there is a best possible world and it is a perfect creature world. (shrink)
This book develops Non-Identity Theodicy as an original response to the problem of evil. It constructs an ethical framework for theodicy by sketching four cases of human action where horrendous evils are either caused, permitted, or risked, either for pure benefit or for harm avoidance.
The paper explores the way in which we can make sense of the seemingly contradictory presentations of God and the gods in tragic literature by looking to the thought of Martin Heidegger. The duplicity of the gods in tragedy is found to be a function of the uncertainty and questionworthiness of being.
Offering an original perspective on the central project of Descartes' Meditations, this book argues that Descartes' free will theodicy is crucial to his refutation of skepticism. A common thread runs through Descartes' radical First Meditation doubts, his Fourth Meditation discussion of error, and his pious reconciliation of providence and freedom: each involves a clash of perspectives-thinking of God seems to force conclusions diametrically opposed to those we reach when thinking only of ourselves. Descartes fears that a skeptic could exploit (...) this clash of perspectives to argue that Reason is not trustworthy because self-contradictory. To refute the skeptic and vindicate the consistency of Reason, it is not enough for Descartes to demonstrate that our Creator is perfect; he must also show that our errors cannot prove God's imperfection. To do this, Descartes invokes the idea that we err freely. However, prospects initially seem dim for this free will theodicy, because Descartes appears to lack any consistent or coherent understanding of human freedom. In an extremely in-depth analysis spanning four chapters, Ragland argues that despite initial appearances, Descartes consistently offered a coherent understanding of human freedom: for Descartes, freedom is most fundamentally the ability to do the right thing. Since we often do wrong, actual humans must therefore be able to do otherwise-our actions cannot be causally determined by God or our psychology. But freedom is in principle compatible with determinism: while leaving us free, God could have determined us to always do the good. Though this conception of freedom is both consistent and suitable to Descartes' purposes, when he attempts to reconcile it with divine providence, Descartes's strategy fails, running afoul of his infamous doctrine that God created the eternal truths. (shrink)
Several recent critiques of theodicy have incorporated some form of moral objection to the theodical enterprise, in which the critic argues that one ought not to engage in the practice of theodicy. In defending theodical practice against the moral critique, Atle O. Søvik argues that the moral critique (1) begs the question against theodicy, and (2) misapprehends the implications of the claim that it is inappropriate to espouse a theodicy in certain situations. In this paper I (...) suggest some sympathetic emendations for Søvik's theodical apologetic, but I argue against Søvik's claim that the moral critique of theodicy is altogether irrelevant. (shrink)
Summary Mats Wahlberg argues that evolutionary theodicies fail to show how an evolutionary process was necessary in order to reach the goal God is said to have had when creating our world. The authors of this article argue that Wahlberg‘s critique fails if one takes into consideration the distinction between type- and token-values. The question that guides Wahlberg‘s discussion is whether or not unique type-values require an evolution in order to be instantiated or not. He does not, however, discuss whether (...) unique token-values require evolution. This article will address this question, and argue that the theodicies he claims to fail does not do so for the reasons put forward by Wahlberg if interpreted as focusing on token-unique values. The authors will also argue that theodicies other than those evaluated by Wahlberg succeed in identifying type-unique values that can only be brought about through evolution. (shrink)
Although Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, Alvin Plantinga has developed a theodicy that is fundamentally Arminian rather than Calvinistic. Anthony Flew, although the son of an Arminian Christian minister, regards the Arminian view of ‘free will’ to be both unacceptable on its own terms and incompatible with classical Christian theism. In this paper I hope to disentangle some of the involved controversy regarding theodicy which has developed between Plantinga and Flew, and between Flew and myself. The major (...) portion of this paper is devoted to showing that Plantinga's theodicy contains some serious flaws and undesirable implications. (shrink)
Edward Nieznanski developed in 2007 and 2008 two different systems in formal logic which deal with the problem of evil. Particularly, his aim is to refute a version of the logical problem of evil associated with a form of religious determinism. In this paper, we revisit his first system to give a more suitable form to it, reformulating it in first-order modal logic. The new resulting system, called N1, has much of the original basic structure, and many axioms, definitions, and (...) theorems still remain; however, some new results are obtained. If the conclusions attained are correct and true, then N1 solves the problem of evil through the refutation of a version of religious determinism, showing that the attributes of God in Classical Theism, namely, those of omniscience, omnipotence, infallibility, and omnibenevolence, when adequately formalized, are consistent with the existence of evil in the world. We consider that N1 is a good example of how formal systems can be applied in solving interesting philosophical issues, particularly in Philosophy of Religion and Analytic Theology, establishing bridges between such disciplines. (shrink)
The full extent of the anguish and death suffered by immature humans is scientifically and statistically documented for the first time. Probably hundreds of billions of human conceptions and at least fifty billion children have died, the great majority from nonhuman causes, before reaching the age of mature consent. Adults who have heard the word of Christ number in the lower billions. If immature deceased humans are allowed into heaven, then the latter is inhabited predominantly by automatons. Because the Holocaust (...) of the Children bars an enormous portion of humans from making a decision about their eternal fate while maximizing the suffering of children, the classic Christian “free will” and “best of all possible worlds” hypotheses are falsified. (shrink)
Theodicy wrestles with suffering and pain, while seeking to understand God's engagement with these realities. Cancer raises similar questions, while focusing on specific aspects of those questions. Cancer appears to challenge many aspects of Christian doctrine, in particular issues regarding the origin of sin, Christology, and ultimately ones doctrine of God. This article explores how my own personal diagnosis of colon cancer has led to an exploration and re-evaluation of these traditional doctrines and their relevance for my own faith (...) journey. The realities of cancer, and random cell mutation as an evolutionary driver, appear to call into question traditional understandings of the origin of suffering and sin, and, I would argue, the very role of Jesus. A process theology that redefines core features of the nature of God is proposed as one way of addressing these doctrines and their impact for faith. These features will note the limited nature of God with regard to power and knowledge as well as the nature of a God who truly risks. (shrink)
Kant was engaged with the subject of theodicy throughout his career and not merely in his 1791 treatise explicitly devoted to the subject. George Huxford traces Kant’s thought on theodicy throughout his career to show not only the continuity of Kant's consideration but also his philosophical development on the subject.
Theodicy would be an impossible task if the only good states were pleasures and the only bad states were pains. This paper lists many other and greater goods, and shows that many of these cannot be had without corresponding bad states. These goods include the satisfaction of persistent desires, desires for incompatible good states, compassion with people in serious trouble, free choice of the good despite temptation, and being of use to others in providing knowledge and opportunities of certain (...) sorts for them. (shrink)
Two general sorts of responses to the suffering caused by the 9/11 attacks are distinguishable in the statements of public officials, journalists, and citizens: one manifests a tragic sensibility, another takes the form of theodicy. Each response entails a distinctive set of expectations about the nature of political agency and solidarity in a democracy. With its claim of access to a transcendental form of truth, theodicy promises a robust sense of political solidarity and agency based on a shared (...) religious belief. Tragic modes of appeal muster their consolatory effects by appealing to intuitions or taste rather than religious belief and therefore potentially remain open to more diverse public audiences. (shrink)
This paper summarizes a version of the argument from evil for atheism and then assesses several theodicies, including those that appeal to punishment, evil as a necessary counterpart for good, free will, natural evil as natural consequence, natural law, higher-order goods, and the conjunctive "Big Reason" including all the above and more beside.
In the elaboration of his soul-making theodicy, John Hick agrees with a controversial point made by compatibilists Antony Flew and John Mackie against the free will defense. Namely, Hick grants that God could have created humans such that they would be free to sin but would, in fact, never do so. In this paper, I identify three previously unrecognized problems that arise from his initial concession to, and ultimate rejection of, compatibilism. The first problem stems from the fact that (...) in two important texts, Hick rejects compatibilism for different and seemingly contradictory reasons. His various explanations of soul-making theodicy’s relationship to compatibilism are therefore in conflict. The second problem is closely related to the first. It turns out that when Hick’s concession to compatibilism is closely examined, soul-making theodicy appears unable to explain the existence of moral evil. The final problem consists in understanding why Hick would have made any concessions to compatibilism in the first place given that he ultimately opts for incompatibilist free will. After identifying these three problems, I develop a distinctive way in which to interpret Hick’s soul-making theodicy that solves the first two. This distinctive interpretation, moreover, has the added benefit of solving another, well-recognized problem that has long plagued Hick’s exposition: the problem of the hypnotist metaphor. Finally, I address the third problem by suggesting a rationale for Hick’s initial concession to the compatibilists. (shrink)
The problem of evil is not only a logical problem about God's goodness but also an existential problem about the sense of God's presence, which the Biblical book of Job conceives as a problem of aesthetic experience. Thus, just as theism can be grounded in religious experience, atheism can be grounded in experience of evil. This phenomenon is illustrated by two contrasting literary descriptions of aesthetic experience by Jean-Paul Sartre and Annie Dillard. I illuminate both of these literary texts with (...) a discussion of the 18th Century philosopher Lord Shaftesbury's concept of ‘enthusiasm’. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne’s formulation of the argument from evil is representative of a pervasive way of understanding the challenge evil poses for theistic belief. But there is an error in Swinburne’s formulation : he fails to consider possible deontological constraints on God’s legitimate responses to evil. To demonstrate the error’s significance, I show that some important objections to Swinburne’s theodicy admit of a novel answer once we correct for Swinburne’s Lapse. While more is needed to show that the resultant “deontological (...)theodicy” succeeds, its promise highlights the significance of Swinburne’s Lapse and the prospects for theodicy it has obscured. (shrink)
This article is a response to William Lynch’s, ‘Social Epistemology Transformed: Steve Fuller’s Account of Knowledge as a Divine Spark for Human Domination,’ an extended and thoughtful reflection on my Knowledge: The Philosophical Quest in History. I grant that Lynch has captured well, albeit critically, the spirit and content of the book – and the thirty-year intellectual journey that led to it. In this piece, I respond at two levels. First, I justify my posture towards my predecessors and contemporaries, which (...) Lynch shrewdly sees as my opposition to deference. However, most of the response concerns an elaboration of my theodicy-focussed sense of social epistemology, which is long-standing but only started to become prominent about ten years ago, in light of my involvement in the evolution controversies. Here I aim to draw together a set of my abiding interests – scientific, theological and philosophical – in trying to provide a normative foundation for the future of humanity. (shrink)
The article reviews different antitheodicies in response to Toby Betenson’s article “Anti-Theodicy”. Antitheodicies involve rejecting the position that God or meaning exist only, if evils have justifying morally sufficient reasons. The article builds on Betenson’s division into moral and conceptual antitheodicies and his characterization of antitheodicies as a metacritique of the problem of evil. Moral antitheodicies are problematic, as they do not address the key conceptual issues and might end up in question-begging or moralism. Dissolving the problem of evil (...) requires a conceptual antitheodicy that exposes its presuppositions as speculative metaphysics. Religious conceptual antitheodicies help to focus on different ways of sense-making that do not fall into theodicism. (shrink)
Janowski reads Descartess Meditations as theodicy. He claims that underlying Descartess more explicit epistemological and metaphysical aims is a deeper concern to explain how human error and sin can be made compatible with divine goodness and omnipotence. Accordingly, and despite Descartess disclaimer that he is no theologian, Janowski sees Descartes as taking sidesthe Augustinian sidein one of the most contentious theological disputes of the period. The point of his study, he writes, is to show how Descartes philosophy derived from (...) the early seventeenth-century debates over divine and human freedom, and to what extent those debates influenced Descartess epistemological considerations. (shrink)