Antitheodicy and the Grading of Theodicies by Moral Offensiveness

Sophia 59 (3):563-576 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Antitheodicy objects to all attempts to solve the problem of evil. Its objections are almost all on moral grounds—it argues that the whole project of theodicy is morally offensive. Trying to excuse God’s permission of evil is said to deny the reality of evil, to exhibit gross insensitivity to suffering, and to insult the victims of grave evils. Since antitheodicists urge the avoidance of theodicies for moral reasons, it is desirable to evaluate the moral reasons against theodicies in abstraction from the intellectual reasons for and against them. It is argued that the best known theodicies such as those based on soul-making and free will are guilty of moral faults as alleged. But Leibniz’s best of all possible worlds theory, often thought to be the most morally offensive ‘Panglossian’ theodicy, is morally blameless because it excuses God by the absolute impossibility of his choosing any world better than the present one. Theodicy should not be conceived of as a search for greater goods which may excuse God’s permitting evils. From the divine point of view, creation is an upfront choice between scenarios—in modern parlance, a Trolley problem rather than a Transplant problem. In cases of forced choice among scenarios, it is morally improper to criticize one who chooses the best.

Similar books and articles

Antitheodicy.N. N. Trakakis - 2014 - In Justin P. McBrayer & Daniel Howard-Snyder (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to The Problem of Evil. Wiley. pp. 363–376.
Natural Evils and Natural Laws.Bruce Reichenbach - 1976 - International Philosophical Quarterly 16 (2):179-196.
Introducing the Problem of Evil.Peter Hutcheson - 1999 - Teaching Philosophy 22 (2):185-194.
Best Possible World Theodicy.Hud Hudson - 2014 - In Justin P. McBrayer & Daniel Howard-Snyder (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to The Problem of Evil. Wiley. pp. 236–250.
Moral Antitheodicy: Prospects and Problems.Robert Mark Simpson - 2008 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 65 (3):153-169.
Moral critique and defence of theodicy.Samuel Shearn - 2013 - Religious Studies 49 (4):439-458.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-08-11

Downloads
890 (#17,831)

6 months
270 (#10,337)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

James Franklin
University of New South Wales

Citations of this work

Add more citations