Fall 2018

The Problem of Evil

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-229  |  Religion, as RELI-318

Formerly listed as: PHIL-29  |  RELI-51


Andrew C. Dole (Section 01)


(Offered as RELI 318 and PHIL 229). If God is omnibenevolent, then God would not want any creature to suffer evil; if God is omniscient, then God would know how to prevent any evil from occurring; and if God is omnipotent, then God would be able to prevent any evil from occurring. Does the obvious fact that there is evil in the world, then, give us reason to think that there is no such God? Alternatively: if an omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent God does exist, then what could possibly motivate such a God to permit the existence of evil? This course will survey classical and recent philosophical discussions of these questions. Topics will include the classical free-will defense, Ockhamism and Molinism (positions on divine foreknowledge), the "soul-making" defense, the "no-defense defense," and open theism. We will read works by Augustine of Hippo, J. L. Mackie, Nelson Pike, John Hick, Peter Van Inwagen, Steve Wykstra, Marilyn Adams, and others.

Fall Semester. Professor A. Dole.


Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2015, Fall 2018