The evidential problem of evil

Trakakis, Nick 2006, The evidential problem of evil. In Fieser, James and Dowden, Bradley (ed), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, Tenn., pp.1-26.

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Title The evidential problem of evil
Author(s) Trakakis, Nick
Title of book Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Editor(s) Fieser, James
Dowden, Bradley
Publication date 2006
Start page 1
End page 26
Publisher University of Tennessee at Martin
Place of Publication Martin, Tenn.
Summary The evidential problem of evil is the problem of determining whether and (if so) to what extent the existence of evil (or certain instances, kinds, quantities, or distributions of evil) constitutes evidence against the existence of God, that is to say, a being perfect in power, knowledge and goodness. Evidential arguments from evil attempt to show that, once we put aside any evidence there might be in support of the existence of God, it becomes unlikely, if not highly unlikely, that the world was created and is governed by an omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly good being. Such arguments are not to be confused with logical arguments from evil, which have the more ambitious aim of showing that, in a world in which there is evil, it is logically impossible – and not just unlikely – that God exists.

This entry begins by clarifying some important concepts and distinctions associated with the problem of evil, before providing an outline of one of the more forceful and influential evidential arguments developed in contemporary times, viz., the evidential argument advanced by William Rowe. Rowe’s argument has occasioned a range of responses from theists, including the so-called "skeptical theist" critique (according to which God’s ways are too mysterious for us to comprehend) and the construction of various theodicies, that is, explanations as to why God permits evil. These and other responses to the evidential problem of evil are here surveyed and assessed.
Language eng
Field of Research 220315 Philosophy of Religion
HERDC Research category D2.1 Reference work
Copyright notice ©2006, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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