Evaluative claims within the problem of evil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

  • Toby Betenson

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

The problem of evil contains some evaluative claims. Recognizing the fundamental role of the evaluative claims within the problem of evil presents two significant problems for the argument from evil. First, in order for the argument from evil to be successful, the normative assumptions that underlie the evaluative claims within the problem of evil must be deployed consistently both within the problem and between those who are discussing the problem. This level of normative agreement is likely to be difficult to achieve. Second, the argument from evil moves from evaluative premises to a non-evaluative conclusion, and thus commits the same error that J. L. Mackie identifies the moral argument for the existence of God as committing: it gets the direction of supervenience between facts and values back-to-front. Mackie's criticisms of the moral argument for the existence of God ought to also apply to the moral argument against the existence of God. If my analysis is correct, and Mackie's point is valid, then the argument from evil will be left fatally undermined. The problem of evil cannot be used to argue for the conclusion that ‘God does not exist’.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalReligious Studies
Early online date9 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015