God* does not exist: a novel logical problem of evil
I often tell my students that the only thing that is not controversial in philosophy is that everything else in it is controversial. While this might be a bit of an exaggeration, it does contain a kernel of truth, as many exaggerations do: philosophy is a highly contentious discipline. So it is remarkable the extent to which there is agreement in the philosophy of religion amongst theists, agnostics, and atheists alike that John Mackie’s argument for atheism is either invalid or unsound. As a result, the focus has entirely shifted from the logical problem of evil to the so-called evidential one. But I think that this is a mistake, not necessarily because I think Mackie’s argument is sound, but rather because I reject an assumption made by apparently all parties to the debate, which is that there is only one logical problem of evil. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to defend a deductive argument that God* does not exist. As far as I can tell, the basic idea of this argument is a novel one: while Mackie’s argument (and much of the discussion that occurs in its wake) has a more or less consequentialist framework, mine has a deontological one. The evil of which I will speak is that of our having been thrown into the world.
KeywordsGod* Atheism Creation Respect
I would like to thank Corey Maley, Peter Murphy, and Makayla Parriott, as well as audiences in Buffalo and Warsaw, for comments on earlier versions of this paper. I would also like to thank the anonymous referee for comments on the penultimate version.
- Adams, M. M. (2000). Horrendous evils and the goodness of God. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Craig, W. (1990). Divine foreknowledge and human freedom. Leiden: Brill Publishing.Google Scholar
- Geach, P. (1977). Providence and evil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Heidegger, M. (1996). Being and time (J. Stambaugh, Trans.). New York: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Howard-Snyder, D. (1996). The evidential argument from evil. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Kvanvig, J. (1993). The problem of hell. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Plantinga, A. (1980). Does God have a nature? Marquette University Press.Google Scholar
- Rowe, W. (1979). The problem of evil and some varieties of atheism. American Philosophical Quarterly,16(4), 335–341.Google Scholar
- Wolff, R. P. (1970). In defense of anarchism. New York: Harper Press.Google Scholar