Karma, Rebirth, and the Problem of Evil

Philosophy East and West 55 (1):15-32 (2005)
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Abstract

The doctrine of karma and rebirth is often praised for its ability to offer a successful solution to the Problem of Evil. This essay evaluates such a claim by considering whether the doctrine can function as a systematic theodicy, as an explanation of all human suffering in terms of wrongs done in either this or past lives. This purported answer to the Problem of Evil must face a series of objections, including the problem of anylackofmemoryofpastlives,the lack of proportionality between wrongdoing and the observed suffering in the world, the problem of infinite regress of explanation, and the problem of compatibility of free will with karmic determinism. These objections, either separately or taken together, provide (it is argued) sufficient reason to doubt whether the doctrine of karma and rebirth can in fact provide a satisfactory theodicy.

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Citations of this work

Introduction.Swami Medhananda - 2022 - International Journal of Hindu Studies 25 (3):193-198.
Karma and the problem of evil: A response to Kaufman.Monima Chadha & Nick Trakakis - 2007 - Philosophy East and West 57 (4):533-556.
Judaism, Reincarnation, and Theodicy.Tyron Goldschmidt & Beth Seacord - 2013 - Faith and Philosophy 30 (4):393-417.
Karma, Morality, and Evil.Mikel Burley - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (6):415-430.

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