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Nature Red in Tooth and ClawTheism and the Problem of Animal Suffering$
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Michael Murray

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199237272

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199237272.001.0001

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Problems of and Explanations for Evil

Problems of and Explanations for Evil

(p.10) 1 Problems of and Explanations for Evil
Nature Red in Tooth and Claw

Michael J. Murray (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers an overview of recent attempts to argue that evil provides powerful if not decisive reasons for rejecting theism. Those arguments aim to show that we have sufficient reason to believe that there is no morally outweighing reason for the evil permitted in the actual world. After describing the conditions under which evil would be morally permissible, the chapter raises the question, posed by skeptical theists, of whether or not we would or could be well-positioned to know that there are insufficient reasons for the permission of the evil we find in the actual world. Sceptical theism argues that we are not, and the chapter affirms these conclusions. However, the chapter further argues that the success of sceptical theism does not obviate the need for explanations for evil of the sort proposed by traditional theodicies. The chapter closes by setting out the standards that must be met by a successful explanation for evil. Specifically, it is argued that a successful explanation must demonstrate the compatibility of theism with the evil in question, and be such that we are not justified in rejecting the explanation in light of our warranted acceptances.

Keywords:   theism, sceptical theism, theodicy, gratuitous evil, evidential argument

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