A Critique of Van Inwagen’s Response to the Argument from Evil
Philosophical tradition distinguishes the “logical” argument from evil from the “evidential” argument from evil. The logical argument aims to show that theism cannot be true, given the facts about suffering, while the evidential argument aims to show that theism is very unlikely to be true, given the facts about suffering. There is a fairly wide consensus among today’s atheist philosophers that the logical argument is unsuccessful, and so the evidential argument has become the more popular strategy. Peter van Inwagen, however, does not care which argument the atheist deploys. He believes that he has developed a “defense” of theism powerful enough to work against any appeal to suffering whatsoever. This paper disputes this and intends to show that van Inwagen’s “defense” is no defense at all.
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